Rangers buy remaining Northern Spirit shares

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Rangers have bought complete control of Australian side Northern Spirit by purchasing the remaining shares in the club.

The Ibrox side took a 51 per cent stake in the Sydney-based club last season, and it has emerged that they have bought the remaining 49 per cent to give them overall control.

The move has been explained as an attempt to ensure Northern Spirit meet the criteria needed to be included in Australia’s top division when it is cut from 16 teams to 12 next season.

"There were fears that Northern Spirit wouldn’t be one of the 12, but because of Rangers’ financial support they have not been told that they are, provisionally, one of the 12," said David Murray Jnr, who has been at the heart of all negotiations between the two clubs.

"Initially we purchased shares to secure the club’s short term future but for the next phase we need full control of the club as we aim to make an impact in the top division."

Darren Jackson has been released from his contract at Hearts, and is eligible to play for Livingston in their Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibs.

The 34-year-old former Scotland international had been on loan until the end of the season, but Livingston have now made the move permanent.

Meanwhile, former Hearts midfielder Gary Locke faces a spell on the sidelines after breaking his hand as his new team Bradford City drew with Newcastle at the weekend.

Dundee United manager Alex Smith has decided not to sign former Barcelona youngster Raul Sanchez, who joined United on a short-term deal in January. "He was no better than we had here," said Smith.

Former Celtic defender Marc Rieper, who retired at 32 because of a toe injury, has been appointed assistant manager at Danish club AGF Aarhus.

The Scottish Football League has arranged the following fixtures for next Tuesday:

First Division: Airdrie v Ross County, Falkirk v Raith Rovers. Second Division: Clydebank v Berwick, Forfar v Stirling Albion. Third Division: Albion Rovers v Brechin, Cowdenbeath v Montrose, Elgin v Hamilton.

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