Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson hopes the Scottish game can move forward with Rangers on board once their heavily boycotted William Hill Scottish Cup clash is over.
Only about 300 tickets have been sold for the away section at Tannadice after Rangers refused their allocation amid planned boycotts from supporters’ groups. Many fans have been unhappy with Thompson since United charged for a rearranged game after a match against Rangers was abandoned at Tannadice in 2009. But much of the anger appears to stem from their perceptions of Thompson’s attitude to dealing with the fallout of the financial collapse of the oldco Rangers in the summer, although nine other clubs also voted against the newco Rangers’ application to join the Scottish Premier League.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist yesterday addressed fellow Scottish Football League clubs amid the Ibrox side’s opposition to current plans to reform the Scottish leagues. And Thompson hopes the fifth-round tie can be a watershed moment.
“Personally, for the sake of Scottish football, I think we should move on,” he told BBC Scotland. “It’s a game of football after all. That’s what I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully it’s a good and entertaining game. Hopefully my team will win, of course. But we are in the middle of reconstruction talks and the game is moving forward.
“We have got all SPL clubs actually together to move forward for the future and I think we all need to get together, every single club in Scotland, and it would be good for them [Rangers] to come on board as well.”
United had sold a confirmed 9,900 tickets by 5pm yesterday with none on sale today, although they believe the attendance will break the five-figure barrier when all orders are processed. However, Thompson remains disappointed that Rangers did not take up their ticket allocation.
“I’m disappointed because it’s a big game for both clubs and would have been a full house,” he said. “It’s still going to be a good crowd here. It would have been a great advert for Scottish football, which I still think it will be. But they have made their decision, they are entitled to do that and I wouldn’t like to enter into that kind of discussion.”
When asked about perceptions among Rangers fans that they were treated unfairly when the newco club were denied entry to the SPL, Thompson said: “I was on the SPL board at the time when things arose. The other clubs didn’t put them in the position they are in. It’s up to their own fans to decide how they got where they are. I don’t want to re-write the history books.”
The United chairman is confident there will be no security issues and that all fans in the away end will be Rangers supporters. He added: “There are only about 300 coming along and there are very strict security measures being put in place inside the stadium and outside.”