Rangers set to strike Hampden deal to solve stadium crisis as SFA chiefs to green-light emergency plan

Rangers are on the brink of tying up a deal with a new temporary home for the start of the season - with Hampden Park now believed to be the frontrunner.

The Ibrox club was plunged into a crisis last month when it emerged that blundering former CEO James Bisgrove had botched the planning of a summer renovation job on the Copland Road stand - before hastily jumping ship to a new job in Saudi Arabia. Bisgrove’s betrayal has left chairman John Bennett facing a race against the clock to find an alternative venue to house the club’s home games until such times as their own stadium can be reopened to the public.

Bennett has held talks with rugby bosses over the possibility of renting Murrayfield and it’s understood those discussions remain ongoing with the 67,000 capacity ground still considered as a viable option. But Record Sport has learned that an alternative solution to relocate Philippe Clement’s side to the home of Scottish football on Glasgow’s south side has picked up serious pace over the course of the last two weeks. And, although the conversations are described as ‘extremely complicated’ sources at Hampden are reasonably confident that an agreement could be signed off as early as next week.

It’s understood SFA president Mike Mulraney and chief executive Ian Maxwell are keen to facilitate the emergency plan despite original concerns that a new relayed pitch might not be ready for the start of the domestic campaign. The playing surface is being relayed after pop star Pink hired the national stadium to put on back-to-back sell out concerts last week. And the situation has been further complicated by Queen’s Park who were scheduled to return to their spiritual home in September, following Scotland’s Nations League clash with Poland at the start of that month.

Hampden Park
Hampden Park -Credit:SNS Group

But Mulraney and Maxwell have come up with a contingency plan which could yet clear the way for Rangers to use the stadium for as long as required, with no date yet confirmed for Ibrox being declared fit for purpose. Rangers could even expedite a return to their own ground by opening up three stands to accommodate their own fans before the current work is fully completed.

But our source said: “There are still a number of live options on the table because it’s all extremely complicated at this stage. There’s a feeling the Rangers board have been horribly misled. But the club wants to cause as little inconvenience as possible to the Rangers support during this period which is one major reason why Hampden is seen as the best alternative, rather than asking them to travel across the country for home matches.”