A Pyrrhic Victory?

When Pyrrhus invaded Apulia (279 BC), the two armies met in the Battle of Asculum, where Pyrrhus won a very costly victory. The consul Publius Decius Mus was the Roman commander, and while his able force was ultimately defeated, they managed to break the back of Pyrrhus’ Epirot army. In the final analysis, the Romans had lost 6,000 men and Pyrrhus 3,500, including many officers. Pyrrhus later famously commented on his victory at Asculum, by stating, “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined“. It is from this report that the term Pyrrhic victory originates.

The following comment from Veritas is a succinct precis of  a modern day ‘Punic War‘ waged by the Roman Empire, with Mike Ashley as its commander, and a career criminal Dave King cast as Pyrrhus:

“Those fine folks crowing about King putting MA to the sword and being 2-0 up are forgetting that the most tangible and significant move in this affair since King’s coronation was successfully carried out by Ashley and effected by not reverting to court He forced King to find £5m in real cash and he forced him to ante up . Mike Ashley is no-one’s fool! The SFA behaviour in all of this is pathetic, risible and is hardly worth commenting on than other than to confirm it is continually, year in year out, going out of its way to assist the ‘regime du jour’ at Ibrox as well articulated by you (JJ) in your Old Firm piece earlier.The dynamite I thought was coming the other day (and still might) was that MA could prove that the £5m King provided at the beginning of the year and any other funds he has brought to the table to Rangers were in fact the proceeds of crime and that Rangers are literally still alive only on that basis. Given that CFC have literally fallen out of the sky since 2012 with appalling stewardship at all management levels, had Ashley been accommodated in a sensible manner, Rangers  would have been in a very strong position right now and not just treading water.I know this is your core narrative and I agree with it .
I am sure MA could have drip fed working capital and his 2nd loan tranche would be available now . I may be wrong but suspect MW will not get a net £5m to spend this summer . With MA as part guarantor,  other credit facilities and better commercial opportunities would open up. Serious short term progress on the field could then attract even more funds. I can’t get my head around why the wide Rangers community can’t see this. They obviously believe that King and Co will deliver this.  The only credible player on the landscape who can get Rangers to a high level quicklŷ is demonised and ridiculed every time there are Pyrrhic victories in skirmishes with King who then is in turn lionised.The media and the SFA in this country in my opinion are playing a blinder on this to actually hold back Rangers when their opponents have  ‘temporarily’ stumbled .
Unless there are more proceeds of crime from SA available somewhere and also somehow transferable, I can not fathom how King and Co can be behaving the way they are for the real short and long term good of the club? It is clear there should surely have been a rapprochement long ago with MA with DK taken/ bought out as suggested on here months ago.”

When Pyrrhus first invaded Italy he was assisted by the loan of elephants by The King of Macedon (Regan). King and the SFA are working in concert. Darryl Broadfoot (the unnamed source at the Daily Record) attempted to neutralise the conclusion that this consortium exists at the heart of Scottish football.He doth protest too much.

Stewart Regan, since his appointment in 2011, has gone out his way to assist Rangers. Campbell Ogilvie, who was elected as President of The SFA, took the new charge under his wing and explained that serving Rangers was his most significant key performance indicator. Regan was informed: “Look after Rangers, and Scottish football looks after itself.

Campbell Ogilvie also explained how the Scottish media works and that everyone in this media village either overtly or covertly supports Rangers. Mr Regan was inordinately grateful for this steer, and when his mentor was taken to task in regard to a £95,000 EBT severance payment, Mr Regan was quick to defend Mr Ogilvie by claiming that EBT were a legitimate means of avoiding tax.

Mr Ogilvie was aware that the outstanding social taxes at Craig Whyte’s Rangers should have precluded them from participating in UEFA competition, He created a clever strategy where Alistair Johnson submitted the RFC interim accounts to support their UEFA application on April Fools day, one day after the 31st March deadline. The accounts with the details on the outstanding social taxes were ignored, and the position as of midnight 31st March was used as the preferred narrative to present a clean bill of health for the UEFA licence. Mr Regan would have been informed that these ‘Spanish Practices‘ had underpinned the SFA for generations and that it would  be a career limiting decision to rock the boat. Mr Regan was so exercised by this conspiracy at the heart of the SFA that he wrote to Rangers for guidance on a proposed  communiqué to neutralise press speculation. This was vetoed by Rangers.

The preceding paragraph is indicative of the corruption at the heart of the SFA. If a case was made that the corruption no longer exists, I suggest one has a look at Regan’s role in the LNS fiasco. He set up a project steering committee of three individuals. The chair of this committee, Regan, was on record as stating that EBT were a legitimate method of tax avoidance. One would argue that his position on this committee was inordinately compromised.

Which leads us to the latest court events that played out on Thursday. King should not have been approved as fit and proper. Regan and the SFA were compelled to create a case to justify their approval of  King  after he had been approved in May of last year.There was no due diligence in May of last year. This led to the SFA refusing to provide details of their flawed rationale for approving the career criminal. The SFA accessed King’s UK criminal record in March of this year, ten months after he had been approved.

This was the victory claimed by Ashley. The best efforts of Keith Jackson to serve his Rangers masters has resulted in this episode being portrayed as a victory for King. King was not on trial. The SFA process was being taken to task. King was hitching a legal ride from the SFA.

The reasons why the fans believe in King is that they are being fed a false narrative by Keith Jackson at The Daily Record. Positive stories about Rangers sell copy. Ashley’s statement in regard to the costs hearing is indicative of an SFA cover up. King was approved because he had given the impression he would spend £50m on Rangers. Regan was alive to the commercial opportunities that a vital Rangers would provide. He passed King fit and proper on this basis and then had to justify his decision after the fact.

Make no mistake about it, there was no Pyrrhic victory for King yesterday. Mike Ashley’s Roman Empire brought the SFA to heel.

Dear JJ

Dear JJ,

Lady Bear and I  have faithfully followed Rangers all season. Our Queen’s Silver Jubilee vintage Bentley Mulsanne has taken us the length of the UK, from Aberdeen High Court to The Royal Courts of Justice in London. We have visited Edinburgh on several occasions, with away fixtures at The Court of Session and The High Court. We have attended the home matches at Glasgow Sheriff Court and are looking forward to the pre-season friendly at Glasgow High Court in June,  when Craig Whyte and his Rhythm Kings ‘swing’ by.

Lady Bear has highlighted the fact that I must renew my passport  for next year’s Europa Cup tournament, but I am prevaricating. Will our Old Firm partners the SFA finesse our UEFA application despite the going concern red flags in the accounts?  Now that the SFA has replaced a real Rangers man with a Cove Rangers man, is Alan McRae people like us? Is he aware of our special dispensation on UEFA affairs?

Is there any possibility that those perennial bottlers, Hibs, could lose the Scottish Cup Final as required and still play in Europe next season?

My European blazer (White with light blue lapel piping) has been dry-cleaned and my travelling brogues freshly buffed, but I am concerned that the current SFA executive are not made of the right stuff. They have even allowed a CFC director on The Professional Game Board. Perish the thought.

Is he just a token Timothy, or does he hold any sway at Hampden?

 

Yours in Rangers,

 

Edward (Teddy) Bear Esquire

 

Dear Teddy,

 

Thank you for your letter that was written on Lady Bear’s scented light blue notepaper. Her Chanel No. 5 is wafting through my office. I can almost picture her in her boots, riding breeches and hunting jacket, showing her horse her crop as she leads the Edmiston Hunt.

This ‘going concern’ nonsense is a relatively new innovation. Back in the day when Sir David Murray was playing Punto Banco with £100,000 chips, any losses could be hidden in Murray International Holdings, far away from any prying eyes. Sandy Bryson, our man at the SFA, could be relied upon to join us at The Henley Royal Regatta at the end of June (29th this year Teddy) and let the June 30th UEFA deadline slide past as quickly as our coxless fours.

I would not be overly perturbed by Peter Lawwell. We have invited him into the tent to keep him in check. The old adage about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer is particulary apposite apropos No Pistol Pete. He will be busy this year trawling jobcentres the length and breadth of the Republic of Ireland to find a new manager. When he kissed the Blarney Stone some jolly apprentice boys coated it with superglue. His lips have been sealed ever since. We thought he would complain when Alan Muir  and Steven Maclean subverted the semi-final last season, but he barely raised an eyebrow. I was impressed with Josh Meekings’ hand to eye coordination. He has the makings of a competent club rower.

However I digress. Stewart, Alan and Rod are heading for the Euros this summer so they won’t be around for the end of June deadline. As we did not anticipate Europa Cup participation there was no need to apply prior to the end of March as was the case in the past. Our Dear Leader, Kim Jong-King helped the SFA out of some local difficulty when he produced a photo-shopped copy of Oscar Pistorius’ tax certificate, which stated that he was a taxpayer of good standing. The SFA  will no doubt return the favour and allow us safe passage.

I recommend that you renew your passport, Teddy. I look forward to seeing you and Lady Bear at the Phylis Court Pavilion on the 29th. Please come early as the traffic congestion was beyond the pale last year. I have enclosed your five day Henley parking permit with my compliments. If you could pack a spare blazer and straw boater for Sandy we might be able to pass him off as respectable. Hopefully he will pass out on the ‘Phylie’ Lawn as he did in 2011, with his straw boater muting his snoring

 

Yours in Rangers

 

JJ

Reputational Damage

Mike Ashley (MASH) abandoned his petition due to a technical legal error. His petition sought a judicial review of the SFA’s rationale for approving career criminal King as fit and proper as a director of the SFA member club, The Rangers Football Club Ltd. On the 14th April the SFA disclosed to MASH that they had actually approved him as a director of Rangers International Football Club Plc. As was the case with Paul Murray. Dave King and Paul Murray are not directors of the member club.

What I find inordinately surprising is that in an interview with Alex Thomson, Stewart Regan is on record as stating that the SFA have no say in the executive appointments of a UK Plc. Stewart Regan was lying.The Chief Executive Officer engaged in a barefaced lie to Alex Thomson. The SFA can and evidently do influence the appointments of a UK plc when its source of income is derived from Scottish Football. The SFA disclosed to MASH their reasoning and their supporting documentation. In summary, they contend that the forty-one  criminal convictions for tax evasion, which each carry a penalty of a fine or two years imprisonment, do not contravene SFA article 10.2 as there was no possibility of a prison sentence being served. King had the wherewithal to pay the fine and did so. The SFA’s position is that even though each offence is a technical infringement of article 10.2, the fine which was the outcome, is not a contravention of 10.2. Mike Ashley is calling for the SFA to publish their rationale so that everyone can see this corrupt cabal squirm.  There is evidently a non-disclosure agreement in place. Mike Ashley is aware of how they arrived at this decision, but should he choose to publish it the SFA could revert to legal remedy.

There were two interesting takeaways from yesterday’s costs deliberations. The first is that counsel for King are requesting costs for ‘reputational damages.’  As I pause to laugh at counsel for King, James Blair’s Anderson Strathern, someone should apprise them that Mr King was charged with 322 other offences and had he not intimidated witnesses by consorting with an Italian gangster he would have been imprisoned for fraud, money laundering, bribery and racketeering. When the SFA approved King, he was serving a sentence, suspended for three years, for contempt of court. He so routinely lies to court that three appeal court judges stated that King should not be believed unless there was compelling objective evidence underlying his statements. His affidavit to the Royal Courts of Justice was a tissue of lies. This individual is a career criminal who is being allowed to be a chairman of Rangers as he has funds, and can raise funds. It is really that simple. The SFA requires a vital Rangers to sell to Sky and their Scottish Cup sponsors, William Hill. This vital Rangers is in the final of the SFA’s Scottish Cup. They are in the final on merit, however their path was smoothed to the semi-final by consecutive home draws. This is not luck, this is design.Those not wearing a Warburton’s bread wrapper on their heads left Hampden under no illusions that this iteration of Rangers is no more than a poor relation of the Rangers of their boyhood dreams. However King’s Ragtag Rangers prevailed against the worst CFC team I have ever seen.

Grant Russell is a real journalist. Keith Jackson, who plagiarises Mr Russell’s reportage, is little more than a Twitter correspondent. If Jackson called Mike Ashley he would not get past his personal assistant. A spokesman for MASH told STV:

“We are delighted that the wall of secrecy surrounding the SFA’s decision to declare Dave King a ‘fit and proper person’ is finally crumbling. As a result of legal action concluded today, the SFA has been forced to divulge documents in private to us that reveal the true reasons behind this controversial decision. This represents a significant victory for MASH and we believe there is a strong public interest in this information now also being made available by the SFA to all football fans. We therefore urge the SFA to come clean with the public about all its dealings in relation to Dave King. MASH notes that the SFA did not approve Dave King to be a director of the football club (The Rangers Football Club Limited, the body which has membership of the SFA), but instead only approved him as a director of the club’s holding company (Rangers International Football Club plc).We find it astonishing that Mr King talks and acts as if he runs Rangers, whilst at the same time his lawyers claim he is not a de facto director of The Rangers Football Club Limited.”

Charles Green was the first to apprise us of what became known as ‘The Switcheroo.’ The SFA, not to be outdone, are playing their own version of it. They did not approve King as a director of the member club.

There was one other takeaway from yesterday’s costs hearing. Counsel for the SFA stated that should CFC shareholders choose to take the SFA to court, they would have no legal standing to do so. The SFA will not answer to the Resolution 12 requisitioners.

The statement from MASH is indicative of a man who is not finished with his pursuit of King. Ashley knows that King is a straw man and he is going to ‘ragdoll’ him for the next seven years. If Rangers wish to progress they have to jettison King. They cannot continue for the next seven years being crushed under the SDI wheel. CFC earn circa £11m per annum from their commercial partners. Rangers pick up £200,000-£400,000. CFC squander their competitive advantage by buying players such as Colin Kazim Richards and Ciftci, but if they start to get their recruitment right, a full house at Ibrox will not deliver on yet another King lie. He stated that if Rangers wish to overtake CFC the supporters must spend more than the corresponding supporters of CFC. Next season I confidently predict that ST returns at Ibrox will supersede those at Celtic Park. However if, worst case scenario, only 20,000 buy ST to watch CFC’s next UEFA humiliation and 45,000 buy ST at Rangers, this only represents a £4.8m swing  to RFC. CFC also pick up the best part of £3m for winning the title. Any payment to Rangers will be offset by £400,000, the costs of the SFA appeal, and interest. Worst case scenario CFC still have an £8.4m annual advantage plus the staggered payments from the £32m of sales to Southampton. CFC also have overdraft facilities.

King requires 75% of the equity holders to give him the same latitude as the SFA have given him at RIFC. If he gets this approval from the gullible shareholders, he will carve up Rangers and dilute Mike Ashley’s equity to less than 5%. Corporate governance in the Rangers board has been replaced by a vendetta between two men. This war of attrition will be waged for seven years. Those celebrating a King ‘victory’  should be more circumspect. They did not understand Ashley’s objectives. He forced the SFA to reveal their rationale and he trashed King’s ‘reputation’ in a costs hearing. From his perspective, he won. Those of us hoping for a knockout blow were disappointed. However we should stiffen our resolve as Ashley is just getting started with King. This is not the end, it is the end of the beginning.

 

The Inside Track

I refer those wishing to ascertain the value of a source to my post The Charge of The Whyte Brigade. This article consists of a comprehensive list of the indictments faced by Messrs Whyte, Withey and Grier. How my source gained access to this material, its provenance, is of less import to me than it might be to a sub-editor of a SMSM title. This is one of many areas where social media can beat  moribund copy merchants to the punch.

I became aware of Grant Russell’s information, apropos Ashley’s abandonment, at 3pm yesterday. I contacted my source, who later reverted to me with the official Judicial Office position that the MASH petition would proceed as per the Court of Session’s published rolls. Prior to this my source had come across the submissions that Brodies were planning to use on behalf of MASH. He informed me that these submissions were ‘dynamite.

So how would one gain access to Brodies LLP case file? I have no idea, but I’m prepared to speculate. Could it be loose pillow talk, or an aside as a favour to a fellow legal professional? My source is not prone to hyperbole. I was reassured that King would be hung out to dry.

The only error I made yesterday was not having two sources, however the only other source was Grant Russell, who contacted me on Twitter this morning long after I had published my blog which was so derided by the lowest common denominator of Rangers fans, whose limited vocabulary is best described as colourful. These are the CDE1 demographic that purchase the plagiarised copy of Keith Jackson. He chose to re-tweet my link to my blog to his knuckle-dragging readers, who unlike Mike Ashley did not pull their punches. The Sports Desk of the Daily Record does not have a court reporter. If they require a photograph and 500 words they have to commission a freelance reporter, which they can barely afford. Jackson circumvents these budgetary constraints by following the tweets of Grant Russell and James Doleman. His tweets to the latter were so obsequious that an independent observer might posit that Jackson could limbo-dance under a snake. Jackson likes to think that he and Paul Murray are best friends. Paul Murray gives his superior cuts to The Scottish Sun and STV, not yesterday’s man Jackson.

So how was Grant Russell apprised of the proposed abandonment. He probably received a tip-off from a Rangers source. Mr Russell is the real deal. He attends court in London and has the budget to back his journalistic prowess.

Mike Ashley is a difficult man to fathom, but today’s abandonment would have been advised by his counsel. The Tax Certificate from SARS was almost certainly not available to The Professional Game Board last year, but counsel for Brodies could not prove this as no information was provided to them until last week. Arguing the toss of whether King should be approved now, but not then, would be an exercise in futility. The certificate would almost certainly be in the name of Micromega PTE Ltd, where King is the Chairman. Micromega probably deferred their corporation tax in the last financial year, due to a 45% hit on their turnover. However this would not preclude a clean bill of health.

Ashley was outfoxed by a career criminal. However, by aligning themselves to this criminal the SFA have made a rod for their own backs. When King rips off shareholders and Rangers First CIC, which he will, disgruntled shareholders will turn on the SFA for not protecting them against King. The Resolution 12 requisitioners  might be easily dismissed, but once Club 1872 receives the full King treatment, there will be no place to hide for King’s accomplices, the SFA.

The Old Firm-The SFA & Rangers

I awoke this morning to a slew of Twitter messages, the gist of which is best described as “GIRFUY Timmy.”  I will choose to demur on this advice and confirm that my name is not Timmy. They had been whipped into a fervour by Radar Jackson, The Prince of Plagiarism. As we know Mr Jackson has never had an original thought in his entire life. His source was Grant Russell at STV who was kind enough to contact me via Twitter this morning.

Counsel for Mike Ashley (MASH) decided to abandon their petition due to a volte face by the SFA. The SFA and Rangers were working together in perfect harmony this morning in court. There is only one Old Firm in Scottish football. They have been working together prior to CFC being established in 1888, and continue to work together to this day.

The SFA were initially not prepared to disclose anything to MASH. Counsel for MASH stated that it was told by the SFA that it was “none of its business” that King was deemed to be fit and proper. The SFA QC stated that MASH “lacks standing” and is “not a member of SFA“. Perhaps they could then explain why an SFA tribunal chose to engage in disciplinary measures and fine Mike Ashley?

This morning’s proceedings were a microcosm of the Judicial Review. MASH’s decision to abandon their petition was predicated on the release by the SFA of a key document. King had secured a Certificate of Good Standing from the South African Revenue Service. This was not available to the SFA’s Professional Game Board when they deemed King fit and proper. It came to light in March of this year and duly made its way to counsel for the SFA. As we are aware King formerly bribed a SARS official and presented a document to court in a bid for a favourable settlement of his tax evasion. This was thrown out and the compromised SARS official was suspended and then dismissed. How King managed to conjure up this document is a mystery, and as there will be no judicial review, we will never get to the bottom of it. Nor will we get to the bottom of the criteria used by the SFA Professional Game Board, which included the blue pound succubus Peter Lawwell,  by which King was approved. Apparently this is confidential.When stripping the game of any semblance of sporting integrity we can be assured that they will do so behind closed doors. Is it any wonder that a consensus of opinion believes that they freeze the Rangers and CFC draw balls to ensure the ties most desired by the SFA’s sponsors? This strategy came to light during the QF draw.

Lord Bannantyne allowed the dismissal of the petition and will consider the matter of costs at his leisure. He will weigh up what effect the SFA/King’s 11th hour disclosure of a new document had on proceedings. MASH asserted that had this been disclosed, the petition would have been abandoned sooner and thus minimised costs to all parties.

What was most entertaining about the costs hearing was how counsel for Ashley stated that his client was “surprised” that Mr King was granted fit and proper status.Counsel for Ashley noted that  Mr King was called a “glib and shameless liar” by three South African Court of Appeal judges. So much for the SFA’s great white hope who was confirmed in a UK courtroom to be a glib and shameless liar.

Counsel for the SFA stated that “surprise is not a basis for judicial review“, in regard to Ashley’s unhappiness at King fit and proper decision. It was noted in court that King did not waive his legal privilege until March of this year, which begs the question as to what information was used by the craven cabal at the SFA to give King a green light last year?King’s counsel provided us with the answer. If the SFA had not given their approval, King would not have made his ‘significant loans in Rangers.’  The rationale behind the SFA’s decision has always been known to us. If you have money, be you Romanov or King, whether its clean or the £20m proceeds of tax evasion, the SFA will welcome you with open arms. Regan is looking forward to his salary breaching the £300,000 barrier this year, not to mention his bonus for securing William Hill Sponsorship. Neil Doncaster will cream off even more from the Ladbrokes deal. They will raise a toast to their partner, Dave King, as they sit down to a lavish celebratory lunch in a private dining room at Hotel Du Vin. It would be remiss of them if the Old Firm of Rangers and the SFA were seen together in an open restaurant. Perish the thought!

Counsel for MASH outlined that the SFA position on disclosure of information since June of last year was “no, no, no.” Their decision changed last week to “yes“. Since the SFA did not have the magic bullet of the SARS certificate in June of last year, we can understand their reticence. But since the SFA’s partner, Dave King, had pulled this rabbit from his hat, they were happy to show their new hand to Ashley, fully aware that this document was a game changer.

Now that King has provided Regan with his get out of jail free card, should we expect that the SFA to wish Rangers ‘God Speed’ in UEFA participation should they lift The Scottish Cup? This is the least King should expect from his Old Firm partners. The emphasis of matter/going concern warnings, which contravene UEFA article 52 clause 2, will be overlooked by the SFA. As was the case with the criteria to approve King, the SFA’s UEFA rationale will never see the light of day.

Ashley was on the canvass this morning. The SARS certificate was a knock out blow. He walked into an SFA/Rangers ambush. They floored him with the same combination that they have used for generations. Now we know why Peter Lawwell is running scared of the Old Firm in regard to Resolution 12 and the systemic use of EBT. Could anyone doubt that the tag team of Regan and King would have Lawwell on his back if push came to shove?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Grant Russell and James Doleman for their tweets this morning. I would take pause prior to concluding that this is the denouement of the Ashley v King struggle. This match may have been abandoned but there can be little doubt we will return to the Court of Session later in the year for King’s next attempt to strip Ashley of his voting rights. The career criminal has been given the SFA’s blessing to  carve up Rangers in any way he sees fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Seven Year War of Attrition

Tomorrow’s petition in regard to the SFA’s decision to approve a convicted criminal as ‘fit & proper’ promises to be explosive. I exchanged messages with someone close to the case and he stated that Ashley’s submissions were ‘dynamite.’ Career criminal King will be hung out to dry tomorrow and there will be no hiding place for the SFA. The craven, venal cabal that allowed King to drive a coach and horses through article 10.2 will  be exposed as either complicit in a deception or grossly incompetent.

Stewart Regan thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. He hides behind spurious legal advice, but won’t reveal it to anyone. He claims he has advice from South Africa. If this advice is not from The Crown Prosecution Authority, then it has no merit whatsoever. His South African advice will be exposed as missives from a solicitor acting on behalf of King.

Everyone knows why King was approved by the SFA. He promised to invest £50m/£30m/£Nm in Rangers. Regan’s £34m-£40m business depends on a vital Rangers, so anyone who can assist Rangers, assists Regan. The SFA CEO will be pursuing another eye-watering pay rise due to Rangers making it to The Scottish Cup final. All it took was a rigged draw to ensure that Rangers played at home. Regan and his colleagues rigged this draw to please the broadcasters and sponsors who pay the lion’s share of his bloated salary. They could not take the chance of an away draw, as Rangers might lose as they did in their last two away games at Hibs and Livingston.

We should also discover tomorrow how King managed to raise £5m in Hong Kong. Ashley is going to burn King and set the straw men at the SFA alight. We can but hope that the SFA solicitors, Burness Paull, instruct their advocate of football jurisprudence, Mr O’Neil QC. Andersen Strathern, due to their ‘ incestuous’ relationship with Rangers, will be attempting to put out the fires started by Ashley. Brodies are acting on behalf of Ashley/MASH whose equity was delisted from LSE AIM and has been decimated in value since the appointment of King.

The excellent James Doleman will be covering the case and if live tweets are approved I will provide summaries on this site. It’s important to note that even if the career criminal escapes unscathed over the next two days, there will be a seven year war to follow. A war of attrition. I’m confident that Ashley will be the last man standing.

Lacklustre at Livingston

Has the sheen wore off The Petrol Tanked Cup and The Scottish Championship trophy? Has the penny finally dropped that these are the least that should have been expected from a squad with a playing budget of £6m? Are the team who contained the CFC forward line of Leigh Griffiths, with only a Tunnock’s Tea Cake on the bench, now resting on their laurels?  Rangers have lost two of the three games played since the semi-final and had to endure the indignity of a draw against the plastic pitch part-timers from Alloa. If they take this form into the Scottish Cup Final against Hibs, the end of the season finale will end in tears.

The Scottish Cup is not a construct for second tier clubs. It’s the real deal. An opportunity to win real silverware. Beating ten rivals,the majority of whom are part-time players, only looks good in comparison to the McCoist meltdown last year when Hearts blazed a trail to promotion. If this Rangers team was facing Kilmarnock over two legs in The Premiership play-offs, would everyone be confident of success? Prevailing against a severely downsized CFC should not be the height of Rangers ambitions this season.

Hibs, playing their potato sack keeper in goal and resting Cummings, managed to put four past Dumbarton. They are now neck and neck with Falkirk and should they maintain their late season flourish will only have a maximum of three play-off games prior to the final on the 21st May.

The defeat to Livingston was exacerbated by the fact that the home side could only muster up seventeen players. They introduced sixteen years old Matthew Knox to their first team who is a player who has been  training with Rangers. The Rangers board offered a £100,000 package for the player. Would anyone be surprised if a half of this was predicated on playing in The Champions League Group Stages from the board that bid £75,000 plus bonuses for Scott Allan? Anyone believing the hype of a 5 player swoop in the close season should pay attention to this failed bid.

Hibs are renowned for lacking ‘bottle’ in the big occasions and have been losing finalists ten times since their forefathers won the cup in 1902. In those more law-abiding times they did not require padlocks for their penny-farthings. A theft of this magnitude would result in the birch. The skin would have been taken off the offender’s back.

Promotion and The Scottish Cup would be a fabulous haul from a team who have flattered to deceive. There is also the bonus of Europa Cup qualification. Even one home qualification tie would lead to a £1.3m+  full house bonus for Rangers. This is money they desperately need. If current form is anything to go by, there will be discarded magic hats at Hampden.