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New blow for Rangers as shares are suspended

By Gavin McCafferty

Rangers suffered another financial hit yesterday when trading on their shares was suspended because of their failure to submit audited accounts.

Rangers published their annual financial figures on November 30 but they were not signed off by an independent auditor and the club subsequently failed to meet the six-month deadline from the end of their financial year.

Rangers’ chairman Craig Whyte quickly responded to the PLUS Stock Exchange's suspension by downplaying the merits of being listed on the market and revealed he was considering withdrawing from it after the first anniversary of his takeover in May.

The development is unlikely to have any immediate impact on the club's finances, although it could make it more difficult for shareholders to trade.

However, it is another blow to the club's financial reputation and puts more pressure on Whyte to provide some form of assurances to shareholders and fans.

Rangers explained their failure to meet their obligations was down to the ongoing dispute with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which is due to come before a tax tribunal next week, although it could be March before a verdict is delivered.

The stock exchange acted after reporting a breach of the rule that requires issuers to publish annual audited accounts within a certain time frame.

Rangers responded with a statement, which read: “The delay has been caused as a result of finalising the audit, which the board believe will be complete on or around January 31, 2012.

“The delay in finalising the audit is principally related to the ongoing HMRC tax tribunal.

“The board of the Rangers Football Club plc is currently considering the merit of maintaining its listing on the PLUS market after May 6 2012, being the date 12 months following the acquisition of the 85.3% holding of the Company by The Rangers FC Group Limited.”

Meanwhile, in the Scottish Cup draw yesterday, Rangers were drawn at home to fellow SPL side Dundee United.

In the west end of Glasgow, Dylan McGeouch insists Celtic will treat a potential tie against Inverness like any other game despite the history between the two clubs in the competition.

The Hoops were famously dumped out of the tournament by then First Division side Caley Thistle in February 2000, before suffering another defeat to the Highlanders in March 2003.

Terry Butcher's men must first overcome Clydesdale Bank Premier League rivals Dunfermline in a fourth-round replay to secure another cup clash with Celtic.

But McGeouch knows a meeting with Inverness will inevitably conjure up memories of what was a miserable night for Celtic at Parkhead more than a decade ago.

He said: “People are always going to bring that game up.

“It's always in the back of your mind, you don't want any upsets.

“Hopefully we can go out and get the job done and get through to the next round.”

Eighteen-year-old McGeouch added: “I think I was at my gran's watching that game. I wasn't too happy anyway.

“We just need to remember that we are on a good run just now.

“It's just another game so we will just go out and hope to get through to the next round.”

Elsewhere in the draw, St Johnstone will be looking to beat Hearts at Tynecastle for the second year running.

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