Scottish football should be ashamed after Gers verdict

Posted by John Gow

IbroxPA PhotosRangers retained their titles following probe

After all the fuss and acres of trees felled to supply the insatiable lust to see Rangers punished for actions they did not do, the Scottish Premier League Commission under Lord Nimmo-Smith clearly points out that Rangers did not cheat and did not gain any competitive advantage for having Employee Benefit Trusts.

- Rangers retain titles following probe

It was a verdict that Rangers and the fans were endlessly repeating before it happened, but no-one wanted to listen. In this case it was guilt before innocence that seemed to spread uncontrollably until there were few who did not believe their fictional stories were fact. Daily newspapers told us how much the club had cheated since 2000 and wondered how many titles would be taken - not if they should be taken. Yes, it actually went that far.

But worse, the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football Association, the noble guardians of the game, had decided in the summer to take titles and cups from Rangers without any due process. In no other sport in the world would the governing bodies openly suggest taking away hard won achievement because they assumed the worst, rather than wait for small things like evidence.

This in itself shows the feeding frenzy that Scotland had at the time. If Charles Green had not refused the title stripping deal (imagine if he had been some anonymous businessman from elsewhere who did not care?) then the Light Blues would have lost those wins.

But jaws have dropped and excuses are now being made. They had no evidence of cheating. Rangers did nothing wrong on the park or in trying to gain an unfair sporting advantage. It's Rangers and especially the fans, who are victims of Craig Whyte and his treatment of the club, no-one else.

On Thursday Rangers manager Ally McCoist spoke of his delight that "the result of the Commission has totally vindicated the entire club" and his relief that it was over. He pointed out that "to have something like that levelled at you [cheating] is pretty outrageous and I'm thrilled for all the fans, for the staff and all the players that a sensible outcome has been reached."

It was typical of a man who has shown incredible strength and dignity through a terrible twelve months and was one of those making it clear to new boy Charles Green that under no circumstances should he accept title-stripping for a place in SFL1. The Rangers CEO has been getting the praise for refusing to do so, and of course that is proper, but let's not forget it was the manager who was making sure the fans were not being sold out.

And although he didn't go into why there was such a whirlwind of innuendo taking the place of facts, others should. Who at the SFA and SPL believed Rangers should be stripped of titles for no reason and why? Why did the SPL wait until Rangers were in administration to set up a commission they could have done at any time in a decade? Who made those decisions and why? Who were the people who had decided Rangers' guilt by gossip and who were willing to go to incredible lengths to damage the club? If the right people ask these questions and demand answers then all will be revealed.

Yet, as bad as 2012 was for the Rangers it could have been worse. If some physicists and cosmologists are correct and there really are parallel universes that are created after every decision we make, then in one there is a Rangers Football Club that is totally destroyed, with titles stripped from the SFA and SPL, while those officials and club Chairmen are making themselves popular by telling Scotland how opposed they are to cheating and that they will take action regardless of the club. The fans will be protesting but against a media who have largely also decided on guilt, then they stand alone.

That was very nearly our world and that should shame Scottish football.

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