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Doncaster says new-look top flight does not need Edinburgh team

Neil Doncaster has admitted the relegation of both Hibs and Hearts from the SPFL Premiership would have been a huge concern had the defunct SPL still been in charge of the Scottish top flight.

But the SPFL chief executive, who held the same position at the SPL, insists a Championship featuring both Edinburgh clubs and Rangers will be "terrific" for the game because all four divisions were reunited under one body last summer.

Fears have been raised that a top-heavy second tier could remove some of the limelight from the Premiership and belittle the top division.

However, Doncaster is adamant that the merger of the SPL and the SFL last year eased this prospect.

He said: "It's certainly an unprecedented situation and if we had still been an SPL of just the top 12 clubs then, yes, you could have seen it as a devaluation of the league.

"But the league is now 42 clubs and to have such exciting stories, such drama, such tension, undoubtedly going to be unfolding at the bottom of the Premiership and at the top of the Championship, I think it is terrific for the whole league that you've got two such strong leagues and such interesting stories playing out at different levels within the game."

The confusion over Ryan Stevenson's contract situation with Hearts is set to be cleared up today with the 29-year-old parting company with the relegated Tynecastle outfit.

While goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald and Jamie Hamill were shown the door on the day that director of football Craig Levein and first-team coach Robbie Neilson were appointed by new owner Budge, no clarification of Stevenson's situation was made.

The former St Johnstone, Ayr United and Ipswich Town player has a year left on his contract but Hearts are expected to confirm his departure this afternoon, with several Premiership clubs monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, disgruntled supporters are pressing ahead with plans to oust under-pressure Rod Petrie after the Hibs chairman told them at a meeting he would not resign.

Hibernian Supporters Association chairman Mike Riley, former player Paul Kane, PR figure Simon Pia and Kenny McLean jnr, son of a former Hibs vice-chairman, briefly met with Petrie at Easter Road yesterday.

After little more than 30 minutes inside Easter Road, the four men emerged and were clearly reluctant to divulge any details of the summit.

Kane, who played over 300 games in eight years for Hibs, said: "All will be revealed about the meeting at a press conference on Friday."

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