Glasgow Rangers will play in Third Division next season
GLASGOW Rangers will start the new season in the Irn-Bru Third Division following a vote by Scottish Football League chairmen at Hampden today.
The 30 SFL teams were voting on whether Charles Green's newco Rangers should enter the league and which division they should be placed in.
The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football Association were hopeful Rangers would be parachuted into the First Division.
The SFA chief executive Stewart Regan claimed that putting the Ibrox club into the Third Division would bring financial catastrophe and a "slow, lingering death" of the game.
Twenty-nine of the 30 SFL clubs accepted Rangers as an associate member of the Scottish Football League while 25 clubs voted in favour of placing the newco team into the bottom tier.
SFL chief executive David Longmuir said: "The member clubs of the Scottish Football League have today voted to willingly accept The Rangers Football Club as an associate member of the Scottish Football League.
"Furthermore, the Scottish Football League's only acceptable position will be to place Rangers FC into the Third Division of the Irn-Bru Scottish Football League from the start of this season."
Longmuir also stated that he was 'comfortable' with the outcome of the vote and that the decision from the SFL clubs was taken with the sport's best interests at heart.
He said: "I'm comfortable today that the Scottish Football League made a very, very decisive decision that was based on sporting fairness and I think the Scottish Football League were in the right place to make that decision.
"This decision followed a tried-and-tested process and was taken in cognisance with the other options which were available for consideration.
"Today's decision has been one of the most difficult for all concerned but it has been taken in the best interest of sporting fairness which is the fundamental principle of the Scottish Football League.
"The Scottish Football League has been entirely consistent with our willingness to work with other bodies to ensure that we focus on rebuilding our game, restoring pride in our game and exploring revenue streams and our willingness to achieve these aims does not alter."
Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton revealed that Green, Regan and Rangers manager Ally McCoist addressed the meeting and told Press Association Sport: "It was a good meeting that was handled well and all the issues came out. There was also a good hearing for those who came into the meeting.
"The league made a decision and I think it was the right decision and the right process and I'm proud to be a member of the Scottish Football League."
Dunfermline chairman John Yorkston said it would not be a shock to see the SFA and SPL formulating plans for an SPL2, something which has already been mooted.
"That wouldn't surprise me," he told Press Association Sport.
"The 10 First Division clubs sent out a message today saying that we are looking for a 42-club solution, the vote was 25 to five so I think that was fairly unanimous."
Yorkston was echoing Longmuir's comments which made up part of the statement read to the gathered media.
Longmuir said: "Something I would like to say very clearly today is that he First Division clubs in particular made it very clear to us that they are looking for an all 42-club solution to Scottish football's restructuring issue - that was a very clear direction of the will of all SFL clubs."
A statement on the official Rangers website confirmed discussions over forming an SPL2 were still up in the air.
The statement read: "It was mooted last week that plans for an SPL2 would swing into action in the event of today's outcome but it is not known if this will be the case."
However Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall does not believe such a breakaway will take place.
"I don't think there is any chance of that," he told Press Association Sport.
"We all want a 42-club solution to this situation with all 42 clubs working together for football but I have no idea what is likely to happen.
"We have made a decision, I sincerely hope the decision is respected and we go forward with Rangers in the Third Division. Ally McCoist and Charles Green were adamant that they would respect our decision."
Asked if he was surprised by the 25-5 vote he said: "Not after discussions took place. If you had asked me last night I would not have come to that figure.
"Discussions went well, we listened to everything that was said and we are quite happy."