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Rangers players to discover fate

By Lisa Gray

Rangers players are set to find out today whether they will be axed as part of cost-cutting measures or whether their jobs are safe for now.

Administrators Duff and Phelps said an announcement on staffing levels could be made today, amid speculation that a number of first-team regulars could be heading for the Ibrox exit door.

So far, director of football Gordon Smith and chief operating officer Ali Russell have been the only casualties of the administration process after their departures were confirmed last Thursday.

A statement from the administrators last night read: "Duff and Phelps, the administrators of Rangers Football Club, advise all media there will be no announcement today (Thursday) in relation to staffing levels in any department of the club.

"Discussions are ongoing regarding potential cost-saving measures and announcements will be made at the earliest opportunity, most likely tomorrow (Friday)."

Rangers owner Craig Whyte claims he has "enormous sympathy" for those who will lose their jobs.

But he insists the painful administration process - and any redundancies as a result - is necessary to make the Scottish champions stronger in the long term.

Whyte told STV: "Clearly I've got enormous sympathy for anyone who's losing their job in this process.

"But, what I would say is, that Rangers were a company in enormous financial distress long before I came along.

"This is part of solving the problem to make Rangers a stronger business when it comes out of administration, which we are all working very hard to do."

Rangers were forced into administration on February 14 over an unpaid tax bill of £9million accrued since Whyte's takeover of the club last May.

Players' union PFA Scotland confirmed last night that they met with Duff and Phelps to discuss the situation at the Glasgow giants.

PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart said: "I can confirm that PFA Scotland had formal discussions with the administrators today.

"Along with our lawyer Margaret Gribbon I also met with the players and manager to discuss all possibilities.

"Those discussions will continue into tomorrow and PFA Scotland aims to come up with proposals that will satisfy all parties.

"Further than that I cannot comment as these discussions must remain confidential."

Despite the turmoil off the park, assistant manager Kenny McDowall was keen to keep the focus on football.

He said the players felt they let their fans down by losing 1-0 to Kilmarnock in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Ibrox in their first match after being forced into administration.

McDowall believes Rangers must make amends by replicating last weekend's impressive 4-1 win at Inverness in front of what the club hopes will be another packed house against Hearts in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Saturday.

McDowall told Blues News: "The players were really disappointed for letting the supporters down against Killie.

"Things that had gone on during the week had really taken their toll.

"We never really got going about our business in the first half but, with 10 men in the second, we played very well.

"Hopefully this weekend, with something close to a full house again, we can give the fans a performance like the one we had on Sunday."

Belfast Telegraph


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