THE Scottish Premier League's investigation into alleged undisclosed payments by Rangers via Employee Benefit Trusts will not be affected by the death of former Ibrox director Hugh Adam, Herald Sport understands.

An independent commission headed by Lord Nimmo Smith convenes on January 29 and will later make a ruling on the alleged payments to players at Rangers via EBTs between 2000 and 2010.

If it is found that Rangers failed to disclose contractual payments to the SPL and the Scottish Football Association, a range of punishments could be applied, including stripping of titles and Scottish Cups. An initial inquiry found that Rangers had a case to answer.

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The SPL announced on March 5 last year that it would investigate claims by Adam that some payments were not included in official contracts registered with the SPL and SFA. Adam, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 87, had a 30-year association with Rangers and was credited with bringing £18m into the club via the Rangers Pools from 1971, which helped fund the redevelopment of Ibrox. He also served as a director before leaving in 2000 and becoming a frequent critic of owner Sir David Murray.

But Adam was not one of the people interviewed during the initial SPL inquiry and his claims, nine months ago, will not determine the outcome.

The SPL said late last year that its investigation would continue despite the First Tier Tax Tribunal ruling in the club's favour over a potentially huge tax bill. Charles Green, the Rangers chief executive, has said the "big tax case" verdict had served to "further undermine the validity" of the SPL's commission, and that his newco would not co-operate with the commission.

Meanwhile in a message on the Rangers website yesterday, Green praised fans for the loyalty they had shown. "The debt of gratitude the club owes to you can never be fully repaid because the stark truth is that had it not been for the actions of fans in the last 12 months, Rangers would be in ruins. Instead, every fan stepped up and the result is that we can all focus on rebuilding the club and taking it back to where it belongs.

"We will be patient on that journey and I am proud of the part we are playing in the Scottish Football League. We have been made extremely welcome by every club in our division and I think I speak for all fans in saying we are pleased to contribute to the prosperity of other clubs."

Club and supporters' representatives will pay respects to the victims of the Ibrox disasters in a small ceremony at the stadium this morning before leaving for the game at Annan Athletic.

Ally McCoist. Pages 6, 7