Neil Doncaster believes that Rangers ‘return to European football’ has been one of the highlights of the Scottish season.
With a mountain of private debt and no audited accounts produced since June 2016 the success of the Ibrox club has been at the expense of Hearts who comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
With UEFA well aware of the shortcomings in the way that Sevco have been licensed to be included in the Europa League qualifiers the governance of Scottish football is expected to come in for extra scrutiny in the new season.
In a typically bland interview with the Evening Times which discussed cross-border competitions in great detail Doncaster said: â€œThis has been a memorable season for many clubs. Celtic, Hibernian, Livingston and Arbroath won the four Ladbrokes league titles, with Celtic adding the Betfred Cup and Scottish Cup for the treble.
Brechin City and Forfar Athletic enjoyed promotion via the play-offs while Hamilton Academical and Cowdenbeath survived. Aberdeen enjoyed a record points total and two cup finals.
â€œDundee United won the IRN-BRU Cup. Rangers sealed a return to European football and St Johnstone have done so yet again. Partick Thistle made the top six of the Ladbrokes Premiership for the first time and Ross County won the Development League.â€�
While Hearts may sit back and accept being denied the chance of playing in the Europa League qualifiers it’s unlikely that any of Sevco’s opponents will be as laid back.
Whether they are from Lithuania, Finland or Estonia they will all have balanced their books to earn a place in the qualifiers with the hope of reaching the group stage.
Being denied the chance of picking up around Â£4m and featuring in the group stage is likely to be challenged forcing the SFA to explain why a licence was granted.
In 2011 the old Rangers club were given a licence despite earning a place in the Champions League qualifiers by refusing to pay Â£2.8m to HMRC by March 30.
On that occasion Malmo knocked Rangers (IL) out of the Champions League qualifier with Maribor coming out on top in a Europa League play-off.