The explosion will rumble on throughout the summer. Rangers players revert to their full salaries today. Crucially, however, another clause in their contracts becomes active. The players are now free to leave the club from prices ranging from a free transfer to £2m.
In a week where Duff & Phelps, the club's administrators, stand accused of myriad mistakes, the ''escape clauses'' may yet be seen as one of the most expensive and certainly the most visible on the field of play.
The situation this morning is that up to 10 players – believed to include Carlos Bocanegra and Neil Alexander – can leave for nothing. The top-paid players have a price on their head that does not reflect their value in an open market.
The figures of the contracts, revealed in the Daily Record last month and not challenged by any party, show that any incoming owner will rue a decision made by the administrators in those dark days of March when the pay cuts were being negotiated.
Steve Davis, the Northern Irish midfielder, can leave for £1.65m; Allan McGregor, the Scottish international goalkeeper, for £2m; Steven Naismith, a Scottish internationalist and the subject of much premiership interest, for £2m; Kyle Lafferty, almost certain to leave after a row with manager Ally McCoist, for £575,000; Steven Whittaker, Scottish internationalist, for £850,000; Maurice Edu, USA internationalist, for £300,000; Dorin Goian, Romanian internationalist, for £500,000.
The administrators argued strongly in March against making players redundant, stating clearly that any departures would harm the long-term value of the club. There was more than mild surprise when only Mervin Cellik and Gregg Wylde left in what was expected to be a night of the long knives.
Instead, representatives of PFA Scotland, the players' union, and the agents for the squad thrashed out a deal that has exposed the short-term thinking of Duff & Phelps.
The players were pushed into a tight corner. Interviews with several of the individuals involved at the time make clear that there was a genuine and deeply held conviction that wage cuts should be taken to protect jobs, particularly of those involved in the running of the club. However, many were angered at the chaos inflicted by the Craig Whyte regime and insisted that any future involvement with the businessman at the club would negate all contracts.
The most significant clause, however, was that putting a reduced fee on a transfer in return for the cut in wages. This was seen as a quid pro quo for players taking a cut of up to £20,000 a week.
It was also regarded as an ''escape clause'' for players bracing themselves against whatever debris the ill-wind of Rangers threw at them. For example, any extended ban in Europe or any demotion would impact severely on players and the clause protected their long-term interest.
However, the players generally did not see the clause as a business opportunity or a chance to cash in. Their good faith surely can be measured in their actions in accepting cuts of up to 75% in the first place.
But the clause now becomes active and circumstances dictate it will be exploited. Lafferty will almost certainly be the first to leave after his dispute with his manager and his £575,000 agreed fee represents a heavy hit on the £4m the club paid for the player and the £1m-£2m that Rangers could expect on the open market.
This merely hints at the size of the opportunity missed by the administrators. A clause should have been negotiated that decreed the reduced ''escape clause'' could be nullified by any new owner paying the players their lost wage. This would have protected the short-term interest of the club and its long-term prospects.
Charles Green, or whomsoever eventually owns Rangers, could then have paid about £3m to pay back wages and thus safeguard transfer values far in excess of that sum. For example, Naismith is a £2m player under the contract agreement, but the open market price would be in the region of £7m. Thus any potential owner would have saved money by paying out the £3m in back wages in the event of any transfer of the forward. The same applies across the squad.
Instead, Rangers are now at the mercy of the transfer market. The vultures are circling, as McCoist said recently. The interest in players extends far beyond such high-profile talents as McGregor and Naismith, incidentally two players who are not desperate to leave, despite reports to the contrary.
The squad is being closely scrutinised and that includes young talents such as Jamie Ness and Rhys McCabe. The reality is that no Rangers player is off-limits for a bid, but the tragedy for the club is that the prices represent a fire sale.
This could have been avoided by the insertion of a single clause. The vultures are circling, but their appetite has been heightened by the prices on the menu.