McCoist had confidence over tax case

23 November 2012 05:48

Ally McCoist may have been confident that Rangers would win the 'big tax case' but he believes the club was already written off as guilty by some elements of Scottish football.

A First Tier Tax Tribunal this week delivered a majority verdict in favour of the Ibrox side, following a claim by HMRC over the use of Employee Benefit Trusts that could have resulted in a tax bill of £75million. Two of the three judges accepted Rangers' argument that many of the payments made to players between 2001-10 through EBTs were loans and not taxable.

McCoist, whose Third Division leaders play Elgin on Sunday, said: "I always felt confident, without being over-confident, that the result would go our way."

He added: "I wasn't genned up on all the facts and figures. I'm not a lawyer but, with the information that was passed to me, I was confident the club had a very strong case."

Rangers were forced to call in the administrators in February over a separate unpaid tax bill accrued during Craig Whyte's ill-fated tenure, before being consigned to liquidation in the summer.

Scottish Premier League clubs then voted against granting Charles Green's 'newco' entry to the top-flight, with Rangers now plying their trade in the Irn Bru Third Division. Asked if he felt the decision to place Rangers in Scottish football's bottom tier was down to prejudged guilt in the 'big tax case', as much as the actions of Whyte, McCoist said: "You just have to go back and look at some of the reports and some of the quotes.

"There is no doubt about it, people who should have known better, said some things that quite possibly they would regret saying now."

On whether the SPL prejudged the case, the Light Blues boss said: "As a body, I'm not sure they did. But I would have to say, in my opinion, some individuals within all bodies - whether it be fan bases or the SPL - would have prejudged the case, yes."

One remaining hurdle is an SPL-appointed independent commission hearing into alleged undisclosed payments to Rangers players which will begin on January 29. The investigation centres on EBTs and, if found guilty, Rangers could be stripped of titles. However, McCoist has called for the probe to be scrapped in light of the 'big tax case' verdict.

"I would be extremely hopeful that common sense would now prevail and they would drop it," he said. "That would be the ideal situation and we could all start moving forward again."

Source: PA