14.03.2014 02:05 h

Football: Rangers shine on pitch, still struggle off it

Rangers may have cantered to the Scottish League One title in record time but problems off the pitch at Ibrox continue to overshadow the team's success on it.

The Glasgow giants have been through a turbulent time in the past two years after they entered administration in February 2012 over an unpaid tax bill.

Liquidation followed in June that year to cap an amazing fall from grace for Scotland's most successful club, who have won a record 54 Scottish top flight championships.

A consortium headed by former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green bought the club's assets but their fellow Scottish Premier League clubs voted 10 to 1 against allowing Rangers application to join the league, forcing them to start life in the country's bottom tier.

Ally McCoist's team eased to the old Third Division title last season and wrapped up the League One title on Wednesday with a home win against Airdrieonians in front of over 41,000 fans.

With the second stage of their long journey back to the top of Scottish football now complete, Rangers are potentially just one year away from competing again in the top flight of Scottish football if they can gain promotion from the Championship next season.

However, off the pitch problems still persist for the Ibrox club and threaten to take the shine off their league success.

Controversial chief executive Green was forced to resign in April 2013 when allegations of links with former owner Craig Whyte emerged, although he denied any wrongdoing.

He returned to the club for an 18-day stint as a paid consultant last August but was again forced out after a bust-up with manager McCoist.

After the club reported a massive £14m operating loss for the 13 months to June 2013 there was also a power battle for control of the boardroom between the directors and a group of so-called requisitioners led by former director Paul Murray.

The often bitter and public dispute led to a case in the Court of Session and the requisitioners' eventual defeat at the club's AGM in December, where the current board was re-elected.

Green's replacement as chief executive, Graham Wallace, announced a 120-day business review at the heated AGM and the club's perilous financial position became clear in January when it was reported that the Rangers squad rejected a proposal from the board to cut their pay by 15% in an attempt to reduce outgoings.

And as recently as last month the club was forced to deny rumours it was set to enter administration after the board required a controversial £1.5m loan from two shareholders -- secured against club assets -- just 14 months after raising around £22m in a share issue.

The fact the club needed emergency funding to pay their bills has prompted a war of words between former club director Dave King and the current board, with the South Africa-based businessman urging supporters to withhold season-ticket money for the 2014/15 season until changes were made at the club.

He has told fans to put their money into a trust and drip feed it into the club on a game-by-game basis as he bids to lead a supporters-led buyout of Rangers.

King, originally from Glasgow, invested £20m in the club before it was consigned to liquidation in June 2012. He is set to meet supporters and members of the influential Union of Fans coalition to discuss a way forward for Rangers in the coming week.

McCoist admits he is resigned to the club making headlines for all the wrong reasons rather than winning their division.

"I understand it totally. I've been here long enough," the Rangers manager said.

"Obviously there are other factors involved with the club as there has been for a number of years now, outside factors and indeed to different levels within the club which do take all the focus away from the football, but we've become used to that."