Rangers close in on Hampden deal as SFA pause pitch plan to solve stadium shambles

Rangers are preparing to seal a deal that will see them set up base at Hampden during their Ibrox exile.

Record Sport understands Ibrox chairman John Bennett and his SFA counterpart Ian Maxwell are close to signing off on an agreement to stage the Light Blues home games at the National Stadium in the opening weeks of the season. Gers chiefs have spent the last month scrambling to find an alternative venue after a delayed steel delivery forced construction work on the Copland Road into a shuddering halt.

It was initially thought Hampden would be out of commission, with the Mount Florida turf due to be ripped up and replaced following popstar P!nk’s two-night stay at the end of last month. But those upgrades are set to be shelved after Hampden chiefs offered to ride to Rangers ’ rescue.

Hampden Park
Hampden Park -Credit:SNS Group

The news will come as a major relief to Bennett. He was left with the job of picking up the pieces after former chief executive James Bisgrove - who was in charge of the Copland cantilever project - stunned his Gers bosses by announcing he was moving to Saudi Arabia just as the full extent of the steel delays were emerging.

The chairman is set to address fans in a statement in the coming days but there is an acknowledgement at Ibrox that fans will remain deeply unhappy with the shambolic situation. At the very least, moving to Mount Florida will spare the punters have to trek 50-miles east to Murrayfield, which for a time appeared to be the only option available.

Rangers stage their opening home game of the season against Motherwell on August 10. They are also due to host Ross County a fortnight later, while they will also hope to have two European opponents visiting as they seek to reach the Champions League. But first-team star Kieran Dowell is confident his team can cope with the disruption of flitting to Hampden.

He said: "To be honest that is not really an issue for us as players. Our fans make away games home games the way they are so I don’t think that is going to be an issue for us.”