x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Craig Whyte will 'safeguard' the future of Rangers

The owner says all monies are accountable, Milan Manadric rules out a takeover and Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, offers sympathy to Ally McCoist.

Ally McCoist, the  Rangers manager, took a team training session yesterday as more details of the club emerged.
Ally McCoist, the Rangers manager, took a team training session yesterday as more details of the club emerged.

Craig Whyte, the owner of Glasgow Rangers, is "100 per cent confident" administrators will prove that all money that has come in and gone out of the club during his tenure has been properly accounted for.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ibrox chairman also claims the safeguarding of the future of the Scottish champions remains his intention.

Whyte said he understands the anxiety of supporters after Rangers were forced to call in the administrators on Tuesday.

Whyte said he would not be attending today's match against Kilmarnock, to avoid becoming a distraction to the team.

The firm of Duff & Phelps were appointed after Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) forced the issue in the Court of Session in a bid to secure payment of £9 million (Dh52m) in taxes pay-as-you-go and VAT taxes, a debt accrued during Whyte's tenure.

Whyte purchased Sir David Murray's majority shareholding in the club in May.

In a statement yesterday, Whyte said: "When I took over as majority shareholder of Rangers in May last year, I knew I had been handed a huge privilege - and an enormous responsibility.

"My intention then was to do everything I could to safeguard the club's future. And that remains my intention today."

Whyte added: "In spite of the endless speculation and attempts at character assassination by certain sections of the media, I am 100 (per cent) confident that the administrators' report will prove that every penny that has come in and gone out of Rangers has been properly accounted for.

"And I wish to state categorically for the record now that I personally have not taken a single penny out of Rangers since I became chairman and have paid all my expenses from my own funds."

Later last night it emerged that the former Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston has written to the Crown Office asking for an investigation into the background surrounding the acquisition of the club by Whyte.

Whyte said: "Today I learned that my predecessor, Alastair Johnston, has urged the Crown Office to order an investigation into my takeover of the club.

"Again, I have absolutely nothing to fear because any fair investigation will prove that I have always acted in the best interests of Rangers and been involved in no criminal wrong-doing whatsoever."

Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, insisted yesterday his team's likely Scottish Premier League title will not be devalued by Rangers losing 10 points.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's visit to Hibernian, Lennon bristled when the SPL's credibility was raised in the wake of Rangers' points penalty.

"There will be no devaluing a title win, regardless of what goes on elsewhere, because it is nothing to do with our club, nothing to do with these players," Lennon said.

"If people want to point the finger if - and it's a big if - we win the title then I will have plenty to say about devaluing titles. Don't worry about that.

"It is obviously a very difficult time for the people at the [Rangers] club. For a club of that stature to be in this situation is a nonsense really, absolutely nonsense.

"I have sympathy for my counterpart Ally [McCoist] for what he is going through at the minute. I wouldn't like to have gone through that myself, particularly in my first season as manager.

"As regards sympathy for the rest of the people who brought this on, I don't have much of that at all."

Milan Mandaric, the Sheffield Wednesday chairman, has confirmed in a statement released by the club that he has "no interest" in becoming involved with Rangers.

* Agencies

Fixtures

Today

Dundee United v St Mirren 7pm

Dunfermline v Inverness CT 7pm

Motherwell v Hearts 7pm

Rangers v Kilmarnock 7pm

Tomorrow

Aberdeen v St Johnstone 7pm

Hibernian v Celtic 7pm