Why Scotland needs Rangers

For those involved in Scottish football, the moment has felt inevitable. Whispers have grown into full on bellows as to the fragility of the finances at Rangers FC. A tax case that could cost the club £49million hangs over their heads, money has been loaned against the next four years’ season ticket sales, they have an owner who has a less than perfect business history and on the field problems that have seen them squander a 15 point lead over rivals Celtic. It’s not pretty and the club has now officially entered the first stages on the road to administration.

It’s not good for Rangers and it’s certainly not good for Scottish football.

There is no denying that Scottish football is a two horse race, as it is in Spain and Portugal and various other countries around the world. Whilst we would all like more competition, this is not necessarily a bad thing. What it does is create a focus. The Scottish Premier League (SPL) can sell its product on the basis of the race between two huge clubs getting their hands on the title, as it has recently done with an impressive TV deal with Sky and ESPN. Without that nip and tuck league battle between the top two, there is no interest outside of Scotland’s own football fans. Without the interest, there is no TV deal which in turn affects sponsorship, advertising, profile, attraction for players, the survival of the clubs and, ultimately, professional football in Scotland.

It may all seem a bit dramatic but essentially, in a nutshell, football as we know it in Scotland is completely dependant on a strong and competitive Rangers and Celtic.

Peter Lawwell, Celtic’s Chief Executive, has said that they don’t need Rangers to flourish and continue being a strong club. He also says he wants to dominate Scottish football. Well, the demise of Rangers would certainly see to the domination. What it would also see is that Celtic would struggle even further in European competition and would subject their fans to season after season of boring football with no rivalry and no competition. As much as Scottish football relies on Rangers, Celtic rely on Rangers. The rivalry between the two and the constant battle to be the best is what attracts money, players and fans to Celtic Park.

I’m sure there are plenty Celtic fans out there who are rejoicing in the news that their big rival is struggling but, believe me, the novelty of life without Rangers would soon wear off. A turgid 1-0 win on a cold afternoon against a defensively set out bottom six side doesn’t feel so good when there’s no ‘other side’ to compare it to. Winning the title by 15 points year in year out will never give the same feeling as holding on to win the title as the SPL trophy hovers in the air midway between the two Glasgow clubs. Being a football fan is about failure too and it’s that desperate feeling of loss that makes the feeling of winning so much sweeter. In my opinion it is always more special to knock the champions off their podium than to keep yourselves on it.

The need for Rangers to remain strong is probably more crucial for the rest of the SPL as they don’t have the luxury of the huge fanbase that Celtic have. The likes of Motherwell, Aberdeen and St Johnstone can’t sell their home games to audiences in Ireland, Australia and Asia. They almost completely rely on domestic TV revenue and what it generates, so to see that disappear would be incredibly damaging and more than likely result in a number of clubs following the Rangers executives to the administration offices.

All in all, this is a very serious day for Scottish football and it could lead our national sport down a very dark road that has the potential to take a long, long time to rise again into the light. Scottish football needs Rangers and it needs Celtic and it needs them both strong. I for one will be waiting to see how this situation unfolds with trepidation.


About eilidhbarbour

Balancing my two passions of sport and food in a hectic freelance world with the priority always to have fun!
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22 Responses to Why Scotland needs Rangers

  1. Piratebhoy says:

    We’ll stand alone fine thanks..

  2. SFTB says:

    Celtic fans seem to be continually told by the journos and by fans of other clubs that we “need” Rangers and we would get bored without them. We are particularly fed this narrative by those who favour the Rangers club, in one form or another, or whose livelihoods seem to be dependent on having a Ying for some Yang.

    Well, here’s a novel idea. Let the Celtic fans decide for themselves whether they want Rangers back at the table. Let US suffer the consequences if our decision making is faulty or governed by our heart more than our head. And, of course, the fans of other clubs in Scotland, not just those in the SPl, should be allowed to determine their views on the matter without Celtic fans telling them how to vote.

    My view is clear. Rangers are soon to be dead. David Murray inflicted the fatal blows and Craig Whyte came along to pick on the carcass for his own ends. They have been guilty of a sectarian employment policy, followed by a decade of dubious financing and tax evasion to allow them to win titles and trophies, at the expense of ALL their competitors, basically, financial doping. Just as I would not invite a card shark and cheat back to the table at poker, just because they apologised but kept their ill-gotten gains. The club has gambled on short term glory and has risked almost 140 years of their heritage.

    Don’t worry, though! A new football company will emerge, maybe more than one, and Rangers-minded fans can choose to transfer their allegiance to those clubs, any other existing Scottish club, EPL team or Scottish Rugby. In the last option, they may notice little difference in playing style.

    Rosenborg won 13 titles in a row and Norwegian football did not die. Skonto Riga won 14 and Latvian football is still in the same shape it was. Why would fans of other financially well run clubs (St. Johnstone, Hibs, Dundee United, Ross County etc;) not welcome a chance to challenge Celtic, particularly as you predict, Celtict will have to rein in their spending and rely more on Youth Development. Why would you not prefer that scenario to being behind 2 Glasgow Clubs.

    Could it be that you would miss Rangers more than me?

  3. bhoytony says:

    “an impressive TV deal with Sky and ESPN”
    This stands out even amongst all the other nonsense in this article. Complete rubbish from start to finish.

  4. DonaldF says:

    …and the solution would be to allow an institution that willingly spent beyond their means for years (cheated their way to success in numerous cup and league competitions in other words), to continue unchecked and unpunished? No, that presents an even worse scenario for Scottish football than the one you even portray here. In the names of fairness and decency it’s long past time they paid the price for their years of profligacy. They have no one to blame but themselves and Scottish football would benefit from being rid of them.

  5. justshatered says:

    The problem with your article is that you are working on the premise that it is a level contest.
    Since 1986 Rangers have used Lawrence Marlborough’s, David Murray’s, Joe Lewis’ (via ENIC), and King’s money over and above what they were actually bringing in. In the last decade, to continue with the success at all costs business model, they now seem to have adopted, at best, dubious business practices.
    It could be argued that this was never a true ‘level’ competition as the money being spent was, it now appears, monopoly money and now Rangers propose to play a get out of jail free card.
    Every club in Scotland is now carrying levels of debt. Kilmarnock; £9M, Aberdeen; £9M, Dundee Utd; £5M, Hearts £40M; Celtic, £7M and yet the Scottish footballing public are now being told that Rangers, the dominant team of the last three years, must remain in the top flight. But not only that. They must be allowed back with virtually no debt stuffing every small business and other club that they owe money too while at the same time the other clubs are still saddled with their own debt.
    What is being proposed here is not competition but the death of competition where one team, not two as suggested, is held above all others. When one team can spend recklessly for the best part of quarter of a century, take the game into unparralleled levels of debt, adopt tax avoidance scams and then it is proposed that they be allowed to stay in the top flight is quite breath taking.
    This truely is maddness on a grand scale!
    How strong are Rangers to be; must they be fighting for the title, in the latter stages of all cup competitions, must they be in the top six of the SPL.
    It is the very nature of competition that some one has to be second, eighth, tenth, or even first and to attempt to manipulate football in this manner is showig gross contempt for all paying football fans.

  6. rastabhoy says:

    Thanks very much big man but we’ll go it without them.
    We never walk alone anyway!
    jelly and ice cream anyone?

  7. Rodger says:

    WE DONT NEED THEM fullstop
    they are and always havebeen Scotlands shame
    OH Happy Days

  8. Sixty7Lion says:

    We’ll more than make up for it with Champions League money every season thanks!

    Very happy days indeed …………

  9. James Mckiver says:

    WE DONT NEED THEM …………..

  10. pat says:

    Sorry but that article is just utter biased conservative nonsense.

  11. Ian says:

    Other teams will rise and provide competition on a fairer league. IF Rangers go out of business only to reform under a new name then they MUST NOT be allowed straight back into the SPL. they must be forced to apply to the Scottish leagues and work their way up if they are able. If we allow this, then for me, its the end of Scottish football as fairness has left the building.

    If they go bust, then start from scratch.

    If they come out of administration in the same way as Motherwell, Dundee, Livi etc, then its a different story.

  12. danboo says:

    Comolete rubbish. ascottish football was at its strongest (aberdeen, dun utd)when they were at their weakest.

    Dont worry, scottish football will be just fine.

  13. JoburgSparks says:

    Your article suggests a co-dependency amongst the ‘Old Firm’ (a moniker I, personally, loathe).

    There is no ‘Old Firm’.

    Since Murray uttered his ‘for every fiver Celtic spend, we’ll spend ten’ Scottish football has watched Rangers club buy league titles with money it doesn’t have.
    Whilst the mainstream Scottish media, or the ‘Laptop Loyal’ as we Celtic fans call them, have lapped up the tales of joy from Ibrox, blind to the finacial tsunami about to crash on the shore, the rest of us have been well aware of the dodgy dealings at Ibrox.
    We know all about these ‘whispers’ of discontent.

    Lads, these are the facts:
    1. Rangers borrowed too much, for too long, and Whyte’s inheritence was, simply, a shinking ship. By his own admission, Rangers are losing, every season, ten million quid more than they bring in. That’s why he pawned the next 4 years season ticket sales to Ticketuis for what, a pittance?
    2. Rangers have voluntarily undertook administration based on the above only.
    3. The fact that their spurious ’employee tax benefit’ scheme will, most probably, hit them with a tax bill of +/-£50 million is immaterial. They were going down anyway, thanks to year after year of financial mismanagement.
    4. If Her Majesty does win the tax case, and Rangers suffer another financial blow, this is again immaterial. They’re screwed already. The fact they’ve cheated heir way to every trophy won in these years is, again, immaterial. The’ve worked at years to screw the system, and they should be scornedfor it.

    They have benefitted from year after year of financial skulduggery, cheating, and winning trophiues on the ‘never-never’.

    Rangers, to put it simply, have been ‘found out’.
    If the tax-case goes against them, and Rangers are actually liquidated, then ‘Newco’ Rangers will be ressurected by the SFA and most probably invited back to the SPL immediately, on the grounds that the ‘SPL need them’.
    The fact is Scottish football does NOTneed them.

    They are a cancer, and perhaps now the Scottish media will admit it.
    Or, as most likely, perhaps they won’t.

    I’m sure I won’t miss them at all.

  14. MadridCelt says:

    Another happy-clapper article telling Celtic supporters what to think. Scottish football does not need rangers and can point directly at them when assessing the current level of debt in all clubs. They cheated, got caught and now they will have to take their medicine. If it means an end to their club, and more importantly, their ethos then this is one Celtic supporter than can happily accept it. Don’t remember any articles saying the same back in the 90s. They werra people.

  15. Growl3th says:

    TBH it would be good for Scottish football if BOTH Rangers and Celtic went out of business. More fans would then, hopefully, support their local teams and we would no longer see bus loads travelling from Fife, Tayside, Aberdeen etc heading to Glasgow every weekend to support a team purely on the basis of their alleged religion. I’m not saying that they all will but some putting money and support into local communities can only be a good thing.

  16. BM says:

    Celtic in the champions league……..wow means they must have won away in europe……rangers go that abusing club will go too

  17. BM says:


  18. Jimmy Shaker says:

    ‘the novelty of life without Rangers would soon wear off.’ Baws it would. The novelty of being able to walk into a boozer on a Saturday dinner time and not have to argue my way past bleary eyed bears watching bad football piped in from Fife or some such warzone. The absence of a TV deal means folk might get to watch their team at 1500hrs on a Saturday afternoon and not have to roll out of bed at ungodly hours on Sundays just because Rangers fans in Wick can watch ‘their’ team.

    Football changes constantly. It will change to deal with this. If that means some clubs who to date haven’t looked after their finances get a pretty big scare, so be it.

    Scottish football dealt with the effective non-existence of Celtic during Rangers NIAR and what happened at the end of that? Scotland went to the World Cup in France. It dealt with the effective non-existence of Rangers during Celtics NIAR. It has seen professionalism, domination from English TV, teachers strikes causing the scrapping of school football, various administrations of other clubs, the fact we’re a nation of fat alcoholics, and Chick Young.

    Scottish football is a remarkably resolute beast and will continue without Rangers. Welcome to the revolution!

  19. MadridCelt says:

    BM? Bank Manager? Before Magistrate? Bigoted Mason? Blinkered Masses? By March?

  20. Feb13_Champagne_Monday says:

    Getting bored of this “Rangers too big to perceived as a failure” crap.

    Rangers are in this mess because they are a failure. A financial failure based on morally apprehensible attitudes of tax evasion & financial doping.

    This is the real story.

    Bottom line is the year on year of reckless mismanagement by Rangers directors have result in a fundamental and downright disgraceful abuse their social responsibility … to the their own fans, to the taxpayer and to Scottish Football.

    When Sir David Murray embarked on his “for every £5 Celtic spend, we’ll spend 25p & rob £4.75 off the taxpayer” tsunami of destruction are you expecting me to believe “it was for the good of Scottish football”? Really?

    And now, with their disgraceful track record available for all to see, you have the audacity to say the clubs they have shafted for the past 25 years should put up, shut up and accept it? Really?

    Here is fact. Administration is merely the precursor for Rangers going into liquidation/receivership.

    To come out of administration a CVA must be agreed with their creditors. HMRC will demand more than Rangers can afford i.e. 100% of what they are owed or they will submit a petition to wind up the entity that legally founded Rangers in 1872. This will happen.

    Administ-Rangers / Re-arRangers may arise but they will be a club founded in 2012 with no history. Rangers 1872 –2012. Dead. Gone and easily forgotten.

    I think the benefits to Scottish Football of the new Administ-Rangers / Re-arRangers not being allowed back into the SPL are huge.

    Think of cash injection to Division 1, 2 and 3 games for the next 3 years as the massive rangers support “loyally” follow follow their club throughout Scotland to East Stirling, Alloa, Peterhead, Berwick, Annan.

    The opportunities for Rangers fans to boost the local economies these areas is huge – consider it a social re-payment in kind on behalf of the immoral practicesl of the mismanagement team.

    Think of the experience younger players at Scottish clubs would get playing against players like Alan McGregor, Steven Davis, Kyle Lafferty – ok, maybe Laugherty is taking that a bit too far …

    Of course there is the additional European place an SPL team would get as the new Administ-Rangers / Re-arRangers would not be allowed entry to UEFA competitions for 3 years – thankfully UEFA control this so this will happen.

    In short, your argument is not credible – it is morally corrupt.

    Perhaps the question you should be asking is why on earth Rangers, having acted in a such a reckless, contemptible and disgraceful manner, should be trusted and given another attempt to ruin Scottish football.

    Heaven forbid … next time they may actually succeed.


  21. Pingback: Scottish Football Would be Better off Without Rangers | Good Feet for a Big Man

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