Rangers chief executive Charles Green has urged the Scottish Football League to take steps to avoid a repeat of the Elgin City ticket fiasco.
Last Sunday’s televised match between the two clubs was postponed on Friday after it emerged that too many tickets had been sold for the Irn-Bru Third Division clash at Borough Briggs.
On Tuesday, the SFL imposed a £25,000 fine on Elgin and ordered them to pay Rangers compensation, while last night a new date was issued for the match. Ally McCoist’s team will now travel to Elgin on Saturday 22 December, with a 12:30pm kick-off. No announcement has been made yet regarding whether or not the match will be televised.
As a result of the fixture change, the home match against Annan moves forward by 24 hours to Tuesday 18 December.
Speaking to RangersTV, Green has branded the episode “a complete mess”. He said: “You couldn’t make it up but it’s something that seems to happen in Scottish football.
“There is an issue where fans are desperate to see Rangers and we understand the pressure but safety has to be the most important consideration.
“It’s disappointing for me because fans make special plans to get to games. I have been contacted by Rangers fans who were travelling up on the Friday, had booked hotels months ago and were going to make a weekend of it. So it’s a real problem when these sorts of things happen.
“I have spoken to [SFL chief]David Longmuir on a couple of occasions and he has apologised on behalf of the Football League.
“He is annoyed and challenged by what happened.
“Now we have to look at how we move forward because this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. We know at other games there have been similar issues where people were selling vouchers before matches and there has to be some serious thought by the Football League and all of the clubs because this problem is not going to go away.
“If, over the next couple of years, we continue our pilgrimage through the leagues, if there is no restructuring, then this problem is going to get worse.
“I think we all understand that when Rangers come to town it’s a money-spinner and they lost a lot of money at the weekend in terms of local businesses and corporate hospitality.
“The game might be played now in a midweek when there is not so much money to be made and will the game be shown live as was planned last Sunday? Who knows?
“So it’s a complete mess and a lost opportunity.
“There has to be a balance between maximising revenues when Rangers come to town and a situation like this where they have effectively killed the goose that laid the golden egg.”
Rangers are set to host Elgin in the fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup this weekend.
Green added: “The directors of Elgin will have a big sense of responsibility and when they come here on Sunday I’m sure they’ll want to apologise first hand.
“I can’t suggest for a second that the whole of the Elgin board are complicit in this incident and therefore we have to be reasonable.
“What I would say to Rangers fans is that the Elgin fans are as innocent as the Rangers fans in this matter so they should get the usual Ibrox welcome we have extended to all of the Third Division clubs this year.”