CRAIG Whyte last night used his first interview as owner of Rangers to dismiss a statement from the club's independent board questioning his ability to take the club forward as "complete and utter nonsense".

The 40-year-old businessman, whose controversial £52.5 million bid to take over Sir David Murray’s 85.3% shareholding at the club was finally approved after six months of talks on Friday night, met his public for the first time during yesterday’s 4-0 victory over Hearts.

Suffice to say he was received more warmly by the fans than the body of existing Ibrox directors including chairman Alastair Johnston and chief executive Martin Bain set up to examine any potential new owner -- which spoke of “differing views on the future revenue generation and cash requirements of the club” and raised concerns about a “lack of clarity on how future cash requirements would be met, particularly any liability arising from the outstanding HMRC case”.

“I was surprised and disappointed by the statement,” Whyte said. “I’ve spoken to some of the directors today and they have told me that they were not in favour of that statement going out and we will be removing it from the website as soon as possible. The statement from the board is complete and utter nonsense and actually they know it’s nonsense.”

Whyte said he will delay all decisions on the future make up of the club’s board until the close season but it already seems likely that it will look very different by August. Donald Muir and Mike McGill have already resigned with immediate effect, Johnston has announced that he will do so on May 16, the day after the SPL season ends, while Paul Murray and Dave King actively participated in a rival bid to take control.

Bain and finance director Donald McIntyre may come under threat as highly-paid executives, with John McClelland and John Greig the other non-executive directors on the board. Whyte has already appointed his long-term business partner, Phil Betts, as a director on what will be a new, smaller board, while Andrew Ellis is also expected to join.

“Let’s win the league first and then we’ll think about things like that,” Whyte said. “But certain individuals have different agendas. People enjoy their position in the club and don’t necessarily like change.”

Whyte didn’t let such matters tarnish his enjoyment of a day which has been a long time coming. He had a glass of bubbly on Friday night after amicably concluding a deal after some six months which sees him pay off the club’s debt in full, take Murray’s shareholding for the princely sum of £1, and commit to £25m to manager Ally McCoist over the next five years. In essence the day has taken even longer than that: Whyte first watched games in the Copland Road stand with his dad at the age of nine; he savoured the symmetry of taking him back there as owner of the place.

“It is a better start than I could ever have hoped for,” he said. “Me and my dad used to come to games years and years ago, we used to sit in the Copland Road stand, so it’s nice to be back and own the club. It was great to be sitting among the fans and getting involved in the atmosphere. But you can’t sing songs in the directors box.”

Such is the state of the club’s playing staff that the £25m may be frontloaded this summer, and Whyte last night gave Ally McCoist his blessing as manager and indicated that he would be sitting down with him to discuss transfer matters in the next few days. The early signs are that “four or five” new players would be coming in this summer.

“I just plan to get under the covers of the business this week,” he said. “Ally is a Rangers man, he’s passionate about the club and I’m delighted that he’s manager next season and I’m sure he’ll do a great job. I’ve only had a very brief meeting with Ally and that was a few months ago now so I would expect to sit down with him in the next week or so to talk about the plans for next season.”

Whyte went a little way towards outlining his plans. “We can achieve a lot, we can expand the commercial activities and do a lot with the brand. It all comes back to doing well on the field. Plus I’m a passionate Rangers supporter and that’s a big part of it as well.”

Regardless of the squabbling with the independent board, Whyte last night paid tribute to his predecessor. “What David achieved shouldn’t be underestimated,” he said. “He was involved at a unique period in the early 1990s when it was possible to buy the best players in England and get them up to Scotland. Unfortunately, that’s more difficult to do nowadays.

“As for Walter, he’s a legendary manager and as Ally has said he’s going to be a hard act to follow.”