Rangers’ difficulties continued, last week, when Scottish Premier League member clubs voted against their inclusion in the competition for the 2012/13 season.

It’s a huge blow to the Glasgow club, who had once battled with arch rivals, Celtic, for the country’s major footballing honours.

They are now understood to be in the process of applying for a place in the Scottish Football League, where they will look to re-establish themselves and seal promotion back to the elite level at the first attempt.

But their omission from the SPL will leave a huge hole in Scottish football, and there are many clubs who will miss the cash injection they enjoy whenever Rangers and their army of supporters come to town.

Gone is one of the smaller clubs’ big pay-days, and the impact of that could be much bigger than many of those who voted against Rangers’ reinstatement ever imagined it would be.

The stark reality north of the border is that there are two clubs responsible for generating interest and investment in the elite competition.

The Welsh domestic competition is an example of what we’d surely end up with, were Rangers and Celtic to resign their memberships and enter the English Football League hierarchy.

So, clubs reluctant to forgive Rangers for their financial mismanagement could live to rue their position.

On the field, Celtic have been installed as the overwhelming favourites in the football betting to defend the SPL crown they sealed in 2011/12.

And, though more success will be welcomed by the Hoops faithful, they will undoubtedly miss the big match atmosphere that an Old Firm derby brings.

There is of course a possibility that the two sides could meet in a Cup competition – providing Rangers are successful in their application to join the Scottish football hierarchy – but the removal of four staple fixtures from the SPL schedule will massively reduce interest in the matches, even though existing member clubs appear to be in denial of that fact.

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