I had a wry smile to rival that of the immaculately-gnashered Rylan - the face of Scottish Premiership sponsors cinch - when it was suggested Rangers were contesting their obligations to provide them advertising space by virtue of a noble quest to better the Scottish game for all, and not simply because it might cost Douglas Park the sale of a few motors on the forecourt.

Whatever their motives though, the news this week that Rangers are no longer required to promote cinch in the same way that the other 41 member clubs must can only be seen as a victory for the Ibrox club and Park, and no amount of self-congratulatory gaslighting that this also represents some sort of triumph for Neil Doncaster and the SPFL can detract from the fact that they appear to have had their pants pulled down.

As expected, statements and counter-statements have followed, with Rangers and Park crowing about their perceived victory, while the SPFL have vowed to ‘set the record straight’. They may want to do so post-haste, as Rangers have got out of the stalls quickly to set a triumphant narrative that will only get harder for them to poke holes in.

The rule that Rangers based their case on, which you may have presumed the SPFL would have been aware of seeing as they drafted it, was rule 7.1 in the SPFL rulebook’s section I, which reads: “A club shall not be obliged to comply” with league rules if it meant “that club being in breach of a contractual obligation entered into prior to the commercial contract concerned being approved to be entered into” by the SPFL.

SPFL chief executive Doncaster, a man who has seemed to spend the last 13 years getting others hot, cross and engaged in such bun fights, tried to dress up the fact that the financial terms of the deal with cinch would not change in the renegotiation as a win-win for both the league and for Rangers.

But leaving aside the fact that Rangers will now receive their cut of the sponsorship money for doing precisely hee-haw, and how the other 41 clubs will feel about that, a can has now been opened and worms are all over the shop.

What happens if Rangers were to win the league next season? Would there just be no sign of the league’s main sponsor as they lifted the trophy? And what about any future sponsorship deals?

Let’s be honest, as Doncaster has stated himself on numerous occasions, the biggest commercial selling point of the SPFL is that they have two clubs in Rangers and rivals Celtic who attract a vast number of ‘eyeballs’, as they say in advertising. If you take away half of that audience, the already piddling amounts the league’s hierarchy have been able to attract would surely diminish further.

The five-year deal that the SPFL agreed with cinch is worth about £1.6m a year, split between the 42 clubs. Rangers have alleged that the SPFL spent £500,000 on fees just to source that investment, meaning that the agency involved would be pocketing far more than each individual member club. Nice work if you can get it.

Meanwhile, a hard sell has just become all the more difficult. The candidate field for league sponsorship has now narrowed further, given that any member club can now realistically raise an objection if a potential sponsor overlaps with their own commercial agreements in any way.

I am no fan of gambling sponsorship, but to use it as an example, if Ladbrokes were tempted to take on the sponsorship of the Premiership once more, or Betfred the League Cup, could Celtic or Rangers now object to promoting that brand in their stadium or on their shirt due to the fact they have gambling companies splashed over the front of their own jerseys? Or say if Pukka Pies got involved, what is now to stop Kilmarnock getting their pastry in a twist?

Incidentally, why this hasn’t arisen as an issue before now should answer that earlier question about the motivations of Rangers in taking this action, and indeed their source. But as unusual as it is to have little to argue with in a statement from the Ibrox club, concomitant as they normally are with raising more chuckles than pertinent points, you can hardly say their spokesman got this one wrong.

“This is a full vindication of our stance throughout the past season and further highlights wide ranging concerns regarding the corporate governance of the SPFL,” he said.

Whatever your doubts about Rangers’ concern over the greater good, and what good will actually come of this outcome given how it weakens the SPFL’s hand in sponsorship negotiations, they have at least raised questions once more about the standard of leadership at the top of our game.

It is easy to take a swipe at ‘beaks and blazers’. They are unpopular with punters and widely seen as out of touch no matter who they may be or their track record, be that with the SPFL or SFA. And with the SPFL, they are often carrying out the wishes of the clubs, after all. But in Doncaster’s case, it is getting harder and harder to build a case for his defence.

From his infamous ‘Armageddon’ line, through various fixture fiascos (the funniest of which was a ploy to play two semi-finals involving the Glasgow and Edinburgh clubs at Hampden on the same day), to going two seasons without a main sponsor, the underselling of television rights, the lost Dundee Covid email right through to this latest fiasco with cinch, incompetence has become the byword for his time in charge of the SPFL.

‘He’s absolutely cinched it’, the main sponsor’s slogan, is meant to be associated with getting a good deal on your new motor. It has been lovingly repurposed by fans here to mean doing something madcap within the world of Scottish football. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what the meaning of ‘He’s absolutely Neil’d it’ should be.