Inside Rangers' Hampden move: Peeved fans and cost implications amid rebuilding work

The Ibrox outfit are set to strike a deal with the SFA - one that comes with a few costs

Three weeks on from revealing Ibrox would not be ready for the start of the 2024/25 season, Rangers appear to have found a new temporary home.

Hampden Park is expected to be named as Rangers' lodgings for the month of August, at the very least. Delays to building materials arriving at Ibrox means that the Copland Stand renovation work has stalled. While the Govan club are hopeful of returning to their home from September onwards, nothing is certain.

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Rangers and the Scottish Football Association have been brokering a complicated deal to lease out the national stadium. Pitch work was due to be carried out this month after a P!nk concert, while Scotland face Poland on September 5 before Queen's Park move in from Lesser Hampden later that month. Housing Rangers is not an easy assignment.

It is expected that Rangers and the SFA will ratify the agreement later this week. Ibrox bosses, headed up by chairman John Bennett, have been working tirelessly to come up with a solution in the face of anger and criticism from their supporters. A flit to Murrayfield was explored and discussed with the Scottish Rugby Union, but the preference was always to remain in Glasgow. Moving 50,000 fans along the M8 was yet another inconvenience.

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Rangers could play up to five matches at Hampden in August. They are due to commence their Champions League qualification campaign on August 6/7, although the draw and home/away legs won't be set until July 22. Should Rangers reach the play-off round, there will be another Hampden date later in August, as well as two home matches against Motherwell and Ross County, plus a potential last-16 Premier Sports Cup 'home' tie.

Apart from having the majority of supporters in Hampden, their home advantage for the start of the season has been negated. Manager Philippe Clement, in particular, must be seething at the prospect of having to play such crucial Champions League qualifiers away from Ibrox. Rangers' recent successes on the continent have been borne out of an excellent record in Govan in front of a partisan, intimidating fanbase. Hampden will not generate the same atmosphere.

In a summer of rebuild, it is ironic that the off-pitch construction work has let Rangers down. Clement and his recruitment lieutenant Nils Koppen have moved swiftly to bring in new players. Liam Kelly, Jefte, Clinton Nsiala, Connor Barron, Mohamed Diomande, Oscar Cortes and Hamza Igamane are all in the door. Rangers supporters, while pleased with fresh blood, will also ask the question as to whether more experienced, seasoned players will follow. Rangers' market is unearthing gems that can be sold for profit but they cannot neglect the here and now.

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Speculation continues over the futures of several senior players. James Tavernier and Todd Cantwell did not feature in the pre-season draw with Standard Liege on Wednesday. The captain has been heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, while Cantwell's status as a Rangers starter has never been concrete under Clement. Connor Goldson, Tom Lawrence and Cyriel Dessers have also been mooted with moves to other clubs.

One exit has already occurred, with chief executive James Bisgrove moving to Al-Qadsiah in Saudi Arabia just a few weeks before the stand issues were made public. Bisgrove's responsibilities have largely been taken on by Bennett while the search continues for a new CEO. Rangers would like someone with knowledge of the Scottish football landscape as his successor, but having to fill that void is yet another task for a stretched board.

Rangers' goal this summer was to bridge the gap between them and Celtic. Rebuilding a team under the weight of expectation to win trophies regardless is highly challenging, but doing it while dealing with stadium issues and a CEO vacancy makes it even tougher. Rangers will need to pay sizeable costs to the SFA for Murrayfield and for a club that is not awash with cash, it is likely to have an impact on finances. Clement will hope that he still receives strong backing for the rest of the transfer window.

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Sympathy is in short supply from an already tetchy Rangers support, understandably peeved that they will uproot to Hampden for the start of the season. Communication from on high has been limited as the club's hierarchy frantically find rental accommodation. How last season ended, by ceding the Premiership title and Scottish Cup to Celtic, and the pressure of their Old Firm rivals overtaking them in the trophy count this term, leaves little margin for error for many at Rangers.

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