One of the running themes here on my blog since the appearance of Rangers in SFL3 was the unfortunate effect on them of the unfair rules (which whilst applicable to all 30 SFL clubs were clearly targeted at Rangers) dealing with player registrations etc. The limit on the number of players aged over 21 registered by an SFL team only seemed to affect Rangers.
As last season ended, and we geared up for the coming season, Rangers were associated with almost every free agent and prospective free agent footballers who had any link with Scotland. Various signings have already been made to ensure that Rangers can make their way through the third tier successfully. After all, Mr McCoist identified that he needed around ten new players to ensure success over the footballing giants of Arbroath, Ayr and Airdrie.
Some sceptics, and I number myself amongst them, wondered if Mr McCoist had forgotten about the player number restrictions. It seemed that he was re-stocking his larder of players and would have rather too many over 21s.
But my scepticism was unfounded. Mr McCoist was NOT signing players like a little boy in a sweet shop trolley dash, but must have been working with the knowledge that there would not be a player limit this coming season.
After all, despite the SPL, SFA and SFL all saying last summer that they would do what they could to “facilitate” Rangers entry to SFL3, there could not have been any expectation that the rules would be altered for the Ibrox side’s benefit, could there?
So, the only credible explanation is that Mr McCoist has been making his signings and presenting his desired lists of players to his CEO with the knowledge that the limit would not apply. That implies that, in fact, Rangers have been aware for some time of the near-certainty that football restructuring would happen this close season, despite all of the alarms and excursions which led to this point, and that the planned new rules for the SPFL would not contain any player registration restrictions.
In practical terms it will not make any difference to any of the 30 lower division teams other than Rangers.
And why should Rangers be prevented from signing as many players as it can afford by some technicality on player numbers? After all, if Stenhousemuir want a first team squad of 30 over 21s, all it has to do is to generate sufficient income!
The restrictions on Rangers almost amount to communism!
So well done Mr McCoist – any suggestion that you were buying players in ignorance of the player limit was clearly wrong!
Posted by an apologetic Paul McConville