We put morals before money

Raith Rovers are opposed to newco Rangers being admitted into next season's first division. Picture Robert Perry
Raith Rovers are opposed to newco Rangers being admitted into next season's first division. Picture Robert Perry

RAITH Rovers insist they will put morals before money and vote against any proposals to give newco Rangers a place in next season’s First Division.

The Kirkcaldy club made its position clear in a statement which grabbed national headlines on Tuesday morning.

Director Turnbull Hutton subsequently explained the reasons behind the board’s decision, admitting there was an element of payback over the treatment of fellow director Eric Drysdale over his involvement in the SFA judicial panel which served Rangers with a transfer ban.

“How can we vote for some carve-up which puts Rangers in the First Division - against all the rules - given their supporters were threatening to torch the stadium,” Hutton explained.

“We had employees getting threats and rude phone calls, we had a director who sat on an anonymous SFA panel outed by Ally McCoist, and we had Sandy Jardine saying that all clubs who were against Rangers should be boycotted.

“How can we have any credibility if we go along to a meeting and vote Rangers into the first division?”

The SFA is understood to be attempting to broker a deal between the SPL and SFL which could allow Rangers entry to the first division, in return for the introduction of a promotion play-off, a more equal share of income, and a potential merger of league bodies.

Hutton, however, described such proposals as a “bribe”.

“Are we prepared to sell our soul for 50 or 60 grand?” he said. “It would go against fair play and sporting ethos, and I don’t think that’s right.

“We brought in £80,000 worth of season tickets, and there must be a number of these people who would feel betrayed if we were to sell out to Rangers.

“And if we lose those fans now, we may lose them forever.

“You can’t take a risk on the long-term, by a short-term quick fix.”

Impact

Hutton admitted that Rovers’ stance on newco Rangers could ultimately lead them into financial difficulties, particularly if derby rivals Dunfermline replace the Ibrox club in the SPL.

“Losing the Dunfermline games would have a significant impact on our budget,” he said.

“But if we end up in administration, at least we would do so having taken the moral high ground.

“It would be the most moral administration in the history of Scottish football.

“There could be difficult times coming, and we’ll need our supporters more than ever – they are the only way this club is going to survive.”

Hutton would like power brokers to use Rangers current predicament as a platform for league reconstruction within Scotland.

“There’s a lot wrong with the leagues, there has been for 14 years since the SPL started,” Hutton said.

“I agree with Stephen Pressley, the Falkirk manager, who has long advocated the need for bigger divisions.

“Someone needs to put their foot on the ball and think about what we need longer term.

“If the SFA want a professional game in Scotland that’s properly organised and structured with the right sporting ethos, they are going to have to bite the bullet and do something about it.”