Senior sources at Ibrox had ­previously denied that the club was being run by HBoS ever since owner Murray stepped down as chairman on August 26. But that changed nine days ago when Donald Muir formally joined the Rangers board to act in the bank’s interests. That meant Murray gave up all meaningful control -- or had it removed from him -- by the bank which holds Rangers’ debt of around £30 million. Murray has been trying to find a buyer for ­Rangers for more than two years, without success.

No new players can be bought, nor existing ones offered new contracts, without the bank’s authority, while everyone on the playing staff is available for sale. There is further uncertainty over Smith, assistant Ally McCoist and their backroom staff, who are out of contract in ­January and have not been offered new deals.

Smith outlined the situation after Rangers’ 1-1 draw at home to Hibs yesterday as the club also denied a report that a consortium led by non-executive director Dave King, who is based in South Africa, was days away from taking over at Ibrox. It all meant an inglorious end to Murray’s 21-years in power but Smith said he was sorry that the former chairman had surrendered control to the bank. “It’s obviously not a good situation,” said Smith. “It’s not a situation that anybody wants the club to be in. It’s been up for sale for a while. It’s not the bank’s fault. If the bank has to take over in the circumstances it has, they’re not going to invest in a ­football club, are they? I think ­Rangers have been honest about their ­situation. The players at the club have been up for sale since January. 
[We] haven’t bought a player for 
what will be 18 months in this ­transfer window. So we have been quite honest.

“These circumstances have been there for quite a while now and -- despite some headlines -- I have never complained about it. I’m not complaining now either I’m just saying it’s a fact of life. A lot of ­companies around the world are struggling financially. When Sir David Murray stepped away from the club I felt that was a bad thing for Rangers because he’s tried as hard as he could over 20 years to invest in the club.

“Now we don’t have that. So the quicker that gets cleared up the better it will be for Rangers. ­Hopefully 
there can be a change sooner rather than later.”

USA-based director Alastair ­Johnston replaced Murray as Rangers’ chairman in September although he, too, is now answerable to the bank.


l Match report and Rangers: running on empty, pages 2-3