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Clubs took pleasure in Rangers meltdown, says Walter Smith

Walter Smith has accused other clubs of revelling in the financial crisis that gripped Rangers last summer, writes Richard Wilson.

The other members of the Scottish Premier League voted not to transfer Rangers' share in the top flight from Rangers Football Club plc to the consortium led by Charles Green that bought the club. Then Scottish Football League teams voted for Rangers to play in the third division this season.

The SPL also launched a commission to investigate whether Rangers' use of Employee Benefit Trusts was a breach of registration rules, after having asked the club to give up championship titles in return for receiving a license to play. Last week, the commission judged that Rangers had breached disclosure rules, and imposed a £250,000 fine on Rangers Football Club plc.

Smith, now a non-executive director at Ibrox, does not deny that Rangers should have faced sanctions for the financial calamities that led to administration followed by Rangers Football Club plc going into liquidation, but questions the motivation of other clubs.

"I don't think there is any doubt that Rangers had to endure a level of punishment as there would be for any other club," Smith said in the programme for yesterday's game against Annan Athletic. "Although I'm not quite sure there would have been the same zeal from all the other clubs towards any other club in Scotland apart from Rangers. They looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying what was happening. However, things are settling down now, especially after the findings of the SPL commission.

"It was a sensible result and it means that we can draw a line under it. We are going to be involved for the next couple of years in trying to get back to the Premier Division and it looks as though the clubs who voted us out will be in a poorer condition than when we were in it. But that was their decision and they will have to live with that." Smith, who praised the work of manager Ally McCoist, his former assistant, and Green, also admitted he considers it unlikely he will ever return to the dugout. As a non-executive director, Smith is not involved with the day-to-day running of the club, but attends all the home games and contributes to board meetings and other decisions.

"It doesn't look like it now," he said of returning to management. "I have not been inundated with offers. There were a few opportunities after I left Rangers, but they were not positions that I wanted to take up. I am happy enough with the way things are going."

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