GARY Caldwell has urged the Scottish footballing powers-that-be not to go overboard in punishing Rangers – for fear of inflicting untold damage on the game north of the border.
Having already lost their place in the SPL, the Rangers newco will find out today whether they’ll be accepted into the Scottish First Division.
If the vote goes against them, the newly-formed club could be sent right down to Division Three. And Caldwell – who used to do battle with the Gers on a regular basis during his time as captain of Celtic – believes that would be a catastrophic scenario.
“It’s been really disappointing to have seen events unfold from afar,” Caldwell said.
“Rangers are a fantastic football club, and it’s so sad what’s gone on up there.
“Obviously when you play for Celtic they are the number one enemy, but you also appreciate how big a club they are and how much they mean to Scottish football.
“I just hope the decisions that are being made are the right ones for Scottish football.”
While many Celtic supporters will inevitably be enjoying watching their major rivals squirm, Caldwell believes the absence of Rangers from the top flight could have dire consequences for a number of other clubs.
“I understand Rangers need to be punished, but it’s not just Rangers that are potentially going to be damaged by this,” he recognised.
“A lot of people seem to be queuing up to kick Rangers while they’re down, and they’ve already been kicked out of the SPL – which is a massive blow for them as a football club. Hopefully the First Division will accept them now, everyone can move on and maybe Scottish football can even come out of this stronger rather than weaker.”
Caldwell admits Old Firm games in the cauldron of Ibrox were among the most memorable experiences of his career.
And he’s keeping his fingers crossed that those derby games aren’t lost to the Scottish game for too long.
“When I look back on my time with Celtic, the games with Rangers and the rivalry between the clubs were what made it extra special,” he added.
“That’s what people outside Scotland, down here in England, want to see – that’s why Sky pay their millions to televise the games. To lose that would be huge – and hopefully it will only be for one year.
“If that’s the case, it might even re-energise the game up there and when they do come back up the league will be even stronger and everyone can move on.”
Hugo Rodallega signed for Fulham on a three-year contract on Thursday night.
“I would like to thank the staff and fans of Wigan Athletic for three and a half wonderful seasons there,” the Colombian said.