THERE is an argument that the UK would not have had to endure a decade of Tory austerity had it not been for the willingness of the Liberal Democrats to enter into coalition with David Cameron’s Conservative Party in 2010.

While the circumstances are obviously very different, fans of Rangers are today arguing that the “oldco” operating company could ultimately have been saved from the fate of liquidation in 2012 – and the humiliation that followed through years of subsequent mismanagement and demotion – had the tax bill it faced been significantly lower, as is now argued to be the case.

In a story like this, there is an abundance of ifs, buts and maybes, as the Lib Dems would now surely attest. Rangers fans will say the oldco would have survived and their club would have been spared the embarrassment of having to start again in the Third Division, even though continual allegations that their team effectively cheated their way to several league title wins may not have dissipated.

READ MORE: Pressure on Murray over pension deficit

Opposing fans will continue to argue Rangers had an unfair sporting advantage during the period Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) were used, between 2001 and 2010.

In sporting terms it is a deeply grey area, and what is equally unclear at this stage is whether there will be any corporate implications going forward.

Back in 2015, current Rangers chairman Dave King floated the prospect of reviving the oldco, a process which would involve returning assets from the current holding company to the original operating vehicle, and repaying some of the oldco’s debts.

That line may hold some emotional appeal for fans eager to counter the view that their team had “died”. But it is difficult to see the business appeal for King and the current regime at Ibrox.

READ MORE: Sir David applies to wind up MIH

At a time when Rangers continue to rely heavily on the financial goodwill of King and other major shareholders, what would be the attraction of taking on more debt? Even if the tax liability from the EBT scandal is reduced to £23m, it is hard to see how the Rangers of today could afford to absorb that, or why it would even want to. There is only one Alfredo Morelos in the current squad, after all.

One other dimension concerns former Rangers owner Sir David Murray, and how he may respond to the latest developments. The controversial metals and property magnate has long defended the use of EBTs, stating repeatedly that, at the time of their operation, they were a legal means to avoid tax.

In the final accounts of Sir David’s Murray International Holdings, which was wound up in 2015, he argued that the oldco  “need not have entered liquidation” after the first tier tax tribunal regarding EBTs ruled in Rangers’ favour.

Of course, HMRC went on to successfully appeal that ruling. But perhaps the judgment would not have ultimately led Rangers' oldco slipping into administration then liquidation in 2012, had the original tax bill facing the business not been as high as originally calculated.

Indeed, former chairman John McClelland has said this week that it would have been more appealing to potential buyers had the tax liability hanging over it not been so high.

In the bitter world of football in the west of Scotland, others will see it differently. With Rangers at the time already owing £18m to Lloyds Banking Group at the point Sir David sold up to Craig Whyte in 2011, some observers believe that a £23m tax liability on top of that would have been enough to ensure it was not able to avoid insolvency.