The Rangers directors have nine days to reach an agreement with the shareholders who want to see changes made to the board, or they will have to hold a general meeting.

A requisition notice was made to the club allowing 18 days for chief executive Craig Mather, Brian Stockbridge, the finance director, and Bryan Smart, the non-executive director, to be removed from the board and replaced by Paul Murray, the former Rangers director, and Frank Blin, the former executive chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

If the changes are not made, or a settlement not reached, the club will have 21 days from the end of the deadline to hold the general meeting, at which shareholders will vote on the proposals. The latest it could be held is September 11, seven days before the audited accounts are due to be published.

The requisition notice was supported by a little less than 29% of shareholders, including three of the major financial institutions and Jim McColl, the leading Scottish businessman. The group is not seeking to launch a takeover, but the shareholders are concerned about the club's finances and a board that has often been fractured.

Charles Green, who fronted the consortium that bought the ­business and assets from Rangers Football Club plc in liquidation last summer, claims to control 51% of the shareholders. Green himself holds the single-largest shareholding, of around 7%. The Sunday Herald understands that the group behind the requisition is now backed by more than 29%. Fans hold around 11%, but much of that is split among individuals, while Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct, is the fifth-largest shareholder with 4.69%, and could be a critical figure in any vote.

Walter Smith urged the board to find a way to avoid the general meeting when he stood down as chairman last week. He feels unable to work with Green, who returned last week as a paid consultant, and because he backs the shareholders behind the requisition notice. Any compromise would only be likely if somebody on the board pushed for it.

Mather, though, could be significant in this respect. He has earned the trust of manager Ally McCoist and Smith, while during a meeting with fans last week he pledged to contact McColl. Mather's reputation was enhanced following the fans' meeting, while Stockbridge attracted criticism for saying that he did not know how much of the £22 million raised in last December's Initial Public Offering (IPO) of shares remains.

Mather could push for a compromise that involves him staying on as chief executive while the other changes are imposed. McColl and the other shareholders are determined to change the board. Brinkmanship will continue, with both sides believing they would win a shareholder vote.