Pressley fires Gers warning as Stenhousemuir and Shire stay silent

Steven Pressley says Rangers shouldn't get an SFL place on the cheap
Steven Pressley says Rangers shouldn't get an SFL place on the cheap
Share this article

Stenhousemuir and East Stirlingshire won’t be drawn on Rangers - but Falkirk boss Steven Pressley says he’ll be “disgusted” if chairmen don’t follow Martin Ritchie’s lead.

The Falkirk chairman sent a powerful statement last week calling for wholesale changes in football before Rangers are admitted to the Scottish Football League.

But the Bairns boss fears a compromise where the Glasgow club will be parachuted into Falkirk’s division without a transfer embargo and for what he considers a token gesture of a play-off place and £50,000 for the remaining clubs – a deal that sells the rest of the SFL short.

“If we reach a compromise that has Rangers in the First Division with enhanced finances for clubs in the SFL - albeit minimal and are given the carrot of an additional place in the SPL via a play-off – then I’ll be disgusted with our football authorities.

“We’ll have found a solution for Rangers’ situation and not for the game in general.

“I’m not saying plunge Rangers to the bottom, and leave them with nothing because Rangers have a place in Scottish football.

“I’m saying that the rest of the chairmen cannot sell themselves short this time. It is time for the chairmen of the Scottish Football League to show courage. We need to find the right place and for the good of our game.

“We need bigger leagues, and fairer distribution of wealth. But I just fear the compromise for allowing Rangers won’t be enough, just a play-off place and a financial payment that is a drop in the ocean in relative terms.

“This is a time for real courage, and radical change for our game.”

Members of the Scottish Football League are scheduled to meet on Tuesday for discussions over the potential admission of the Glasgow club.

But both East Stirlingshire and Stenhousemuir have refused to show their hand as the Bairns chairman did when demanding change in return for Rangers to be switched from SPL to SFL after liquidation.

East Stirlingshire have already discussed the matter and concluded they’ll “wait and see”.

Shire secretary Tadek Kopszywa told The Falkirk Herald: “We don’t have a decision to make at the moment and we don’t have a view. When we have a role to play, we will play it.”

“Until such a time that we’re required to take a position and making a decision is necessary there is no need to act on anything else.”

The Warriors will meet on Monday night but chairman Bill Darroch issued a statement from holiday: “At present there have been no proposals tabled by the Scottish Football League.

“With so much conjecture it is reasonable that we wait for concrete proposals to consider and make a valued judgement from there.”

That’s in stark contrast to Pressley’s forthright views which back up Martin Ritchie’s statement on the Falkirk club website last week.

In it he appealed for changes if Rangers are to be accepted into the SFL. He said: “The board at Falkirk strongly believe the current turmoil should be a catalyst for change in Scottish football - league reconstruction, First Division play-offs, a fairer distribution of the game’s wealth and the ending of undemocratic voting systems should be the minimum.

“It would be totally unacceptable if a ‘Rangers Newco’ were admitted to the on the current rules.

“Even a weakened ‘Rangers Newco’ would have resources that far outstripped all other First Division clubs and this would pretty much guarantee them promotion.

“Fairness is a word not often quoted in the current situation. However, I think it is worth reminding everyone that when Falkirk FC were faced with provision liquidation in 1998, the new consortium of owners paid every creditor (including the Inland Revenue) in full.

“If we had gone down the route taken by many clubs since then, paying only a fraction to creditors, we would have resources to accelerate stadium development and make an earlier return to the SPL.”