SCOTTISH football fans in unison?

It happens about as often as a bookie is bankrupted on Grand National weekend. And yet, on the thorny issue of whether any newco Rangers should be granted automatic entry into the Scottish Premier League, it seems that most supporters are in agreement, regardless of personal orientation.

Fans of the other 11 clubs believe it only right that any newco should start in the bottom division of the Scottish Football League, and only then if they were to win the ballot that has taken place every other time a vacancy in the league set-up has emerged.

Rangers fans, for different reasons, tend to agree. Not because of the argument that a club that can't meet its financial obligations should take its medicine and start off afresh at the bottom of the pile, but because they find unpalatable the terms of any newco's entry into the SPL. "Blackmail" was a word bandied about by a Rangers fans' spokesperson on the moves afoot, believing the other 11 clubs – or 10 if Celtic can be discounted from the argument – want to have their cake (the extra revenue Rangers would bring to the table) and eat it, weakening Rangers significantly with severe sporting and financial sanctions. For many Rangers fans, the prospect of a new life in the third division offers both a fresh start and a chance to stick two fingers up at those clubs they believe are looking to bleed them dry. Supporters' opinions, alas, rarely count whenever such matters are discussed.

The proposals affecting clubs afflicted by insolvency events – an increased points deduction for clubs going into administration, and introducing penalties for newcos looking to take the place of liquidated clubs – will be voted on at the end of the month. They are, of course, still hypothetical and not relating to any one club in particular but only the most naive would see this as anything but preparing the ground for allowing a new Rangers – should the club fail to exit administration via a CVA – to enter the SPL at the earliest opportunity. There are valid complaints about the timing of it all – why were new insolvency guidelines not put in place when Motherwell went into administration a decade ago? – but it is better late than never. After all, if one club was allowed to shed its debt and still receive a free pass back into the league, then it would surely only be a matter of time before others decided to take a similar course of action.

Welcoming a newco Rangers into the SPL makes commercial sense. Without the option of screening four Old Firm games a season, Sky and ESPN could withdraw from their broadcasting deal, and the other 10 clubs would struggle without that income. They would also lose out on the large crowds Rangers tend to take to away matches, while other sponsors may start to drift away if the traditional two-horse race for the title were to become an annual coronation for Celtic. That loss of money could be enough to push some clubs into an insolvency event of their own.

The business argument, therefore, for allowing a newco direct access to the top flight is compelling. Morally, however, it would be wrong. It will come down to the SPL board – comprising Ralph Topping, chairman of the league who also carries the deciding vote, Neil Doncaster, chief executive; Eric Riley, Celtic's financial director; Stephen Thompson, Dundee United chairman; Derek Weir, Motherwell's vice chairman; and Steven Brown, the chairman of St Johnstone – to take that decision if or when the time comes, but it seems infeasible that other member clubs will not try to shape their thinking. If those involved elect to welcome in a new entity with little right to be there beyond inheriting Rangers' name, stadium and other assets, then it would indeed be a sad day for Scottish football. The basic premise that clubs have to earn the right to enter the top division – as Ross County have just done – would be instantly dismissed via a distasteful arrangement of convenience. There are some supporters who have said they will be done with SPL football if that day comes to pass and it is hard to blame them.

That clubs would suffer financially without the revenue streams Rangers attract is indisputable. But that is the price that should be paid. Every club should aim to be self-sufficient, not reliant on the input from others to balance their books each season. If playing squads have to be slashed, if the quality of the product diminishes, if a new television deal has to be struck that pays a fraction of the current contract, or if other clubs go into administration as a result of the fall-out, then so be it. The need to retain a sense of sporting integrity far outweighs the short-term benefits of bending the rules to accommodate a club that has no right to be there. Without that, why bother playing the game at all?