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Despite 20th win, winter of discontent rumbles on

THE most significant moments in this 3-0 victory, Rangers' 20th in succession, came in the 18th and 72nd minutes.

Supporters show  their displeasure with the way  Rangers is being run
Supporters show their displeasure with the way Rangers is being run

Those were not the times of the first two goals over a limited and jaded Ayr United side but when the majority of the home fans inside Ibrox held up red cards to indicate their dissatisfaction with the way their club is being run. On the reverse the message to the board of directors was clear: get out of our club.

When it is all plain sailing on the field - goals from Jon Daly, Fraser Aird and Bilel Mohsni lifted Rangers 16 points clear at the top of SPFL League 1 - the same cannot be said of off-field matters. The club's annual meeting on December 19 is fast approaching and the repercussions could be seismic. The fans will have a significant role to play regardless of the outcome.

Should the current board cling on to power there is a distinct possibility that many supporters will carry out their threat to "disengage" from the club. That could take many different forms; not buying merchandise, boycotting matches or not renewing season tickets. For a club in dire need of fresh investment, those measures could have disastrous results for Rangers' financial health.

The alternative outcome is a victory for the requisitioners, who have promised to have some sort of fan representation on their board of directors. The ordinary supporter may not have much influence on the outcome of the shareholders' agm vote but their vast numbers - more than 45,000 were there on Saturday - and spending power means only the most foolish or naive would choose not to listen to their voice.

"What's going on at Rangers just now is a disaster," said Kevin Kyle, the former Rangers player who lined up for Ayr on Saturday. "They went bust - and nearly went totally out the game - and you would think they'd have learned their lesson. I feel sorry for the fans. They keep the club going. There's nearly 50,000 of them turned up for a League 1 game. Where else would that happen? And yet they're being treated in the way they are.

"The club need to get it sorted because in a couple of seasons' if they keep going the way they're going they'll be back up in the Premiership. They need to have everything stable if they want to kick on and get back into European football etc. They can't have this rigmarole of people coming in and fleecing the club for money here, there and everywhere. But on the footballing side the boys are getting on with the job in hand, and doing well."

That footballers can exist in their own little bubble has been evident in the way Rangers' results continue to be exemplary despite the ongoing turbulence around the club. It would have been hard not to have spotted almost the entire crowd twice hold up red cards during the match but Sebastien Faure, perhaps diplomatically, claimed not to have paid any real attention to it. "It is not my position to speak about what is happening," said the Frenchman. "I don't fully understand everything that is going on. The squad just focus on the football and for us it is all about win, win, win."

"I don't think it affects the players," added Kyle. "They're getting paid to do a job on a Saturday and as long as their wages are appearing in their bank accounts at the end of each month they will continue to perform. In my time at Sunderland we nearly went into administration and people were [gunning] for the board - I couldn't have told you who the board members were."

The only onfield issue still to be resolved is whether Rangers can go through the season undefeated. Kyle and his manager Mark Roberts feel they can not, but Faure was more confident. "It is possible," he added. "This team has a good attitude and we don't think it is easy for us to win every week. If all the players maintain this approach we can win a lot of games."

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