Martin Bain has launched legal action against Rangers, claiming an alleged breach of contract, and the extent of the breakdown in his relationship with the Ibrox hierarchy was made clear when the club responded by reporting that he had tendered his resignation in March.

Bain is currently suspended, along with the finance director Donald McIntyre, with both thought to have no future at Ibrox under the new owner Craig Whyte. The action was taken in May when the club launched an internal investigation into a pay rise Bain received which Herald Sport understands is not thought to have had the approval of the full Rangers board. When the club’s accounts were released in September, it was revealed that Bain had received a 35% pay rise: from £468,000 to £633,000.

Whyte has appointed Ali Russell as director of operations and commercial activity, and Bain released a statement through his lawyers yesterday declaring that he is to challenge the club’s treatment of him in court.

“Serving RFC for the last 15 years has been a privilege and, although we have had tough times, I have always had the loyal support of our fans and supporters,” Bain said. “It was not pleasant for me or my family to read in newspapers that I had been replaced and never to return to the club I have served with pride. However, I will now hand matters over to my legal advisors. Those responsible will have the opportunity to explain what they have done and why in court. I have instructed legal proceedings and will leave matters to my advisors.”

Rangers responded with counter-claims about Bain’s time at Ibrox, although his lawyer later questioned the content of the club’s statement. “We are surprised that Martin Bain has issued a statement in respect of his employment relationship with the club as it has recently come to light, as late as last week, that he had tendered his resignation in March,” the spokesperson said. “We were investigating the circumstances surrounding that purported resignation and a number of other serious allegations and are seeking his response to a number of legitimate questions we have of him. We had hoped that Mr Bain would attend a meeting with an independent investigator this Friday and hope he will reconsider his refusal to attend this meeting.”

Rangers’ pursuit of Carlos Cuellar remains on hold, after Alex McLeish admitted that he has yet to make a decision on the defender’s future at Villa Park. McLeish was unveiled as the successor to Gerard Houllier yesterday, and said that he will have to assess the Aston Villa squad before making any decisions regarding transfers, with Rangers having already lodged a bid for the Spaniard.

“Carlos has an injury at the moment and the physiotherapist will keep me up to date as to when he will be ready again,” McLeish said. “I am aware there is interest from Rangers, but I have to assess things from an Aston Villa point of view. It could be the case that we will keep Carlos and he can fight for his place.” in.”