London - Cash-strapped Glasgow giants Rangers will play in the Third Division next season following a vote of Scottish Football League (SFL) clubs on Friday in a move that could have enormous consequences for the entire future of Scottish football.
Already expelled from the Scottish Premier League (SPL), following the formation of a new company or newco that took place after Rangers entered administration, they were dropped to the lowest league tier of Scottish football following a meeting of Scottish Football League chairmen.
Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan had said that demoting Rangers to the Third Division would cause financial catastrophe and a "slow, lingering death" of the Scottish game and said they should be dropped to the First Division instead.
But at a news conference after Friday's meeting at Glasgow's Hampden Park it was announced that 25 out of the 30 SFL clubs had voted for Rangers to be entered into the Third Division.
"It has been a very, very important day for Scottish football," said SFL chief executive David Longmuir. "We have voted to willingly accept Rangers as an associate member of the SFL.
"The only acceptable position will be to place Rangers FC into the Third Division from that start of this season, 2012/13. This decision followed a tried and tested process
"Today's (Friday's) decision has been one of the most difficult for all concerned but it has been taken in the best interest of sporting fairness, which is the fundamental principle of the SFL."
He added: "We need to focus on rebuilding our game and restoring pride in our game. Twenty Five clubs out of 30 voted in favour of the Third Division option.
"The decision has that's been made is in the interests of sporting fairness. I am very comfortable with the decision."