ST MIRREN chairman Stewart Gilmour yesterday helped to slam the SPL door shut on the Rangers newco ...and then pleaded with Paisley fans to move on and get behind Danny Lennon’s team.
Gilmour was one of 10 SPL chairmen who voted to exile the liquidated Ibrox outfit from Scotland’s top division – handing the unenviable decision on what to do next to bosses of lower league clubs.
He has already stated that sending Rangers into the First Division is the most “palatable” outcome for his club as it would punish the Old Firm giants for their financial sins without crippling St Mirren’s own bank balance.
Now Gilmour is hoping to put the row behind him and move on with preparations for the new season.
However, with the club’s season ticket sales down by around 300 from this time 12 months ago after angry fans waited to see how Saints would vote at yesterday’s SPL meeting, he has urged fans to show their support for the Buddies.
Speaking exclusively to Express Sports, Gilmour said: “We have made our decision and voted against the newco. Now we hope St Mirren supporters will back their team and back their club.
“Our season ticket sales are down by around 300 from a year ago and that has hurt us.
“It’s time to move forward, so we hope the fans will get behind Danny and the boys.”
Gilmour arrived at yesterday’s Hampden summit having held two productive meetings with supporters and shareholders earlier this week.
On both occasions, he spelled out that his own preference for dealing with the stricken ’Gers would be to demote them to Division One and take advantage of the opportunity to push through reforms of the SPL’s controversial 11-1 voting structure and cash distribution model.
However, a string of SFL clubs have come out against any move to parachute Rangers into the First Division, insisting that the Ibrox newco must start again in the Third Division.
That fate – while popular with fans – will cause Saints bosses to wince, with a potential £1.1million drop in income set to follow if the SPL’s commercial partners, such as Sky, pull out in their droves.
Gilmour believes the TV broadcaster and other league partners will stick by the SPL for a year if Rangers are granted access to the First Division, leaving Saints with a manageable income drop of around £300,000.
However, he insists he will not heap further pressure on SFL chiefs, who now have a monumental decision to make as they decide Rangers’ fate.
Gilmour added: “This is now in the hands of the SFA and the SFL to make the decision that they feel happy with.
“This whole fiasco has dragged on too long but it would be very unfair to pressurise these chairman in the SFL.
“I understand that because, for the last few weeks, I have been under that same pressure and the last thing these people need is others like me telling them what to do.”