Last weekend the Scottish Premier League season finally got underway following a tumultuous summer north of the border. Today, the resuscitated remains of Glasgow Rangers FC will travel to Peterhead, beginning a new life in Third Division football.
Their enforced absence from the SPL gives clubs outside the Old Firm a chance to compete for glory, for the next three years at least. However, any such successes will, for many, come with the mental footnote that Glasgow’s duopoly has been shattered through developments off the pitch rather than on it. Some even believe that the triple relegation of the Light Blues could well spell the beginning of the end for professional football in Scotland. Ibrox managerial legend Walter Smith proclaimed, without bias of course, that Scottish football would soon slip to level of the The League of Ireland without the presence of Rangers in the top-flight.
South of the border, the macabre sniggers of derision from England’s more pompous footballing quarters are difficult to hide. “Look at the dull, primitive and attritional football; their laughable two-horse competition” they snark, and not without reason. Scotland is staring down the barrel of reduced TV money following the justifiable punishment of Rangers, such is the dysfunctional state of the game in the north. Had their transgressions not been penalised, Scottish football would have instead faced a crisis of integrity, with clubs seemingly free to live beyond their means through tax evasion and unsustainable debt, without legal reprisal.
Read the full piece over at The False Nine.