ST MIRREN will vote to boot the new Rangers out of the SPL ... after chairman Stewart Gilmour broke the news to Ibrox manager Ally McCoist in a secret meeting.
Express Sports can reveal that Gilmour arranged a hush-hush hotel summit with McCoist and new Gers chief executive Charles Green last week to tell them Saints would not back the liquidated Glasgow giants in their bid to stay in the top flight.
Gilmour’s decision to take a stand in the name of sporting integrity was made before a number of other SPL clubs – worried about the prospect of angry supporters refusing to buy season tickets – announced they would block the newco’s bid.
St Mirren supporters have also voted overwhelmingly to show the newly-formed Rangers company the red card through an online poll arranged by takeover bidders 10000Hours this week.
And Gilmour has revealed his mind was made up long before the results of that poll were known.
Speaking exclusively to Express Sports, he said: “As the temperature rises in the ongoing SPL newco saga, it should be made aware to all St Mirren supporters that I met with Charles Green, Ally McCoist and other representatives of the Rangers newco last week.
“I made it perfectly clear that our directors’ view was that our club would not be voting for a newco entry into the SPL.
“This meeting was held in confidential circumstances to allow both parties to enable the other to see their respective positions.
“A very positive meeting was held but the position of St Mirren has not changed and our stance of sporting integrity was maintained against the very pressing commercial arguments.”
Rangers were liquidated after running up debts potentially worth more than £130million – and Gilmour admits that exiling them from the SPL could send his own club into a financial tailspin.
Big-money SPL backers, including TV broadcasters Sky, have yet to announce whether they will continue to fund the league – leaving some of Scotland’s biggest clubs to sweat until early August, when the first batch of cheques are due to land on their doormats.
With a doomsday scenario that would see Sky pull the plug and leave St Mirren with an £800,000 hole in their budget still looming large, Gilmour has issued Buddies boss Danny Lennon with a temporary transfer ban.
He said: “Regrettably, the commercial and, hence, financial impact is still not clear to the club but we are very hopeful that this aspect will become clearer in the next few days.
“This will play a major part in the decision-making for the board of directors as to the way forward for the club in the short term.
“We are obviously hoping that our commercial and TV partners stay with the league through this very difficult period.
“Please accept that the club will be unlikely to be signing any new players until this situation is clear.”