THE battle for Rangers has intensified with the Easdale brothers hitting back strongly at Paul Murray, the former Rangers director, who is supporting attempts to oust the board.

A coruscating statement released by Jack Irvine, adviser to the brothers who hold power at Ibrox, said: " So like an episode of The Living Dead, Paul Murray emerges from his Borders lair having vowed never to return . He says he expects a smear campaign against himself and Dave King and in the same breath compares the Rangers board to Gerald Ratner. Hypocritical? You decide.

"If Mr Murray and Mr King ever do get anywhere near the club they are welcome to carry out a robust financial investigation. The Easdale brothers have never taken a penny from the club and nor have they claimed any expenses.

"One begins to wonder if we are not dealing with Paul McKenna as opposed to Paul Murray who appears to have hypnotised himself and his cohorts into obliterating the memory fact that they sold their beloved club for one pound. Rangers men? You decide."

Murray is supporting the bid by Dave King, the South African-based businessman, to call an extraordinary general meeting in an attempt to overthrow the present board.

The accountant, who served on the Rangers board from 2007 to 2011, compared the present board to Gerard Ratner, the jewellery entrepreneur, who infamously alienated his customers and saw his company collapse.

Murray made this statement as he announced he was joining Rangers First, a group, which wants community ownership at Ibrox. The businessman has also joined the Rangers Supporters Trust and made a "substantial donation" to the group.

Meanwhile, the Rangers Fans Fighting Fund has announced it will support financially supporters' attempts to challenge any security over assets granted to Mike Ashley, the Newcastle United owner and Sport Direct entrepreneur.

The fund was launched in 2012 ''to help safeguard and protect the club's future and assets''

A statement said: "In recent days it has become crystal clear that the club's current board is considering the use of Ibrox Stadium and Murray Park in order to secure a further loan from Mike Ashley.

"Mr Ashley already has security over Edmiston House and the Albion car park and the RFFF, like almost all Rangers supporters, feels securitising our historic stadium and training ground is a step too far.

"Ibrox, in our view, is sacrosanct.It is a memorial to the 66 who lost their lives. Some of the greatest names in Scottish football history have graced the hallowed turf down the years and it should never be used as collateral in order to secure a loan that is not in the best interests of the club.

"For that reason, the RFFF confirms it is willing to provide support and assistance to any fan group determined to protect the club's assets."

The statement continued: ''Rangers fans donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the fighting fund during the administration process when their club was at risk and it appears our major assets are at risk once again.

"Now more than ever, we need the Rangers fan base to unite with the collective goal of protecting our assets and taking the club forward.''

Financial Conduct Authority rules prevent the direct investment of the fighting fund in shares.