James Bisgrove dumping Rangers stadium shambles in John Bennett's lap is a breathtaking act of betrayal - Keith Jackson

The embarrassment factor will be off the charts. For Rangers chairman John Bennett and his board, this debacle over the state of the Big Hoose will have come as an utterly mortifying experience.

But there will also be a whole load of shock and anger among the men left to clean up the mess at Ibrox which was dumped on them from a huge height by a chief executive who couldn’t get out of town quickly enough. There will also be questions that need to be answered about how they’ve been left in such an almighty mess and perhaps even if there is a legal mechanism by which some kind of accountability can be apportioned.

Not just for the strategic botch-up that’s left them without a functioning, fit for purpose home stadium for who knows how long. But more specifically, for the breathtaking act of betrayal that lies behind it.

He wouldn’t be doing his job right if Bennett had not already launched a top-level probe into the circumstances that have caused this chaos to unfold and land on his desk without so much as an early warning. As part of that investigation, he’ll want to nail down exactly who knew what. And when.

And if, for example, it emerges CEO James Bisgrove knew more than he was prepared to share with the rest of the club’s
hierarchy then it might also be reasonable to conclude that blood will have been boiling over in the boardroom ever since he disappeared in a trail of dust to a desert in Saudi Arabia.

Worse still, what if it becomes clear that, during all of this, the Englishman was also effectively working his own ticket –
travelling to places such as Bahrain to grease his way into a barrel load of oil money? Well, that would constitute a monumental act of bad faith. One that would be very likely to elicit a thermonuclear response.

All of this can be dealt with when the dust has settled, of course. In the here and the now, however, Bennett and his board have no choice but to lumber on with the hand they’ve been dealt after Bisgrove bailed out to cash in his chips at Al Qadsiah. It would certainly have helped matters if they’d been given an early heads-up on what they were about to discover before Bisgrove bolted to the Middle East.

There is reason to suspect this exit planning extends as far back as to the turn of the year when his girlfriend began asking for advice on social media about how to take a family pet to the Kingdom. Of course, had they known then what they do now then Bisgrove might not have survived for as long as he did. If Rangers had full sight of what was hurtling towards them down the pipeline, it’s difficult to see any other outcome.

James Bisgrove
James Bisgrove -Credit:SNS Group

Instead, any chance the board might have had of pressing the button on a contingency plan some months ago, when it might have been more manageable, was effectively boobytrapped It exploded in their faces only once Bisgrove’s jet had touched down more than 4000 miles away in Riyadh.

That’s why Bennett has spent the last two weeks scrambling around and holding hastily arranged discussions with the top brass at Murrayfield and Hampden as well as with those in charge of the football authorities. Those crisis talks will continue and pick up further pace over the course of the coming week as Rangers close in on finalising a deal for a temporary home, with the national stadium the preferred choice

But the toe-curling embarrassment of being left in a position of such neediness will be impossible for Bennett and his board to shake off for some time to come. They’ll also face a hard sell convincing their own supporters that, whenever the building work has been completed, it was worth all of the hassle and expense for the sake of adding 600 seats to the Ibrox capacity.

It really is an extraordinary set of circumstances and there will be a reluctance to make it worse by airing the club’s dirty laundry in full public view. It’s probably for that reason alone Rangers have not already come out with all guns blazing but the time for dignified silence is likely to come to an end if and when Bennett’s internal review comes to a conclusion.

The ongoing works at the Copland Road end of Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow which will delay Rangers playing in the stadium for a period of the new season. -Credit:Michael McGurk
The ongoing works at the Copland Road end of Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow which will delay Rangers playing in the stadium for a period of the new season. -Credit:Michael McGurk

For now, this is a board still reeling from the scale of the catastrophe they’ve just been blindsided by. Rightly or wrongly, they were relying on Bisgrove to oversee the whole process even though the nuts and bolts of actually putting this refurb together were outsourced to a company in England, a fairly standard practice.

But one that requires the man ultimately in charge to pay minute attention to detail. The delay in ordering in materials, such as steel from the Far East, is a cock-up of unfathomable proportions, especially given the global shipping industry is grappling with unprecedented challenges from port congestion and labour shortages to wars in the Middle East and Ukraine.

How that one slipped through the net is almost impossible to comprehend. It all adds up to a perfect storm and it means, now the order has been belatedly rushed through, the goods are unlikely to actually arrive in Glasgow until some time next month.

And that’s with a fair wind and in the absence of the Houthis throwing a spanner in the works somewhere in the Red Sea. All these imponderables – and the uncertainty they create – leave Bennett trying to spin plates in search of a solution but without knowing when his own stadium will be open again.

He may also be pulling a blade out from between his shoulders and wondering if his trust and faith have been badly misplaced.