Q. Resisting calls from the SPFL board and Celtic for a full independent review into the EBT era at Rangers suggests you have something to hide. Do you?

SR “The decision has been taken as a board decision. It has been taken having considered all the facts that were on the table. As I have explained, since 2011 the board have relied heavily on advice from four QC’s and three law lords, supporting us on that journey. We also have two independent directors on our board. Independence has been at the heart of everything we have done. We had senior counsel come to our board meeting, who sat and presented to our board. We went through that advice, line by line. We were pretty confident we’d had rigorous advice and made our decision on the back of it.”

Q. But the SFA are the clubs. If enough want this to happen, should they not be granted their wish?

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“I notified the members last week of the decision and invited any comment from any member who felt there might be something they wish to discuss. Not a single phone call, not a single email, not a single letter has been received from any of our members other than Celtic Football Club.”

Q. Hang on a minute. Didn’t the SPFL and Celtic statements say all 42 clubs were behind this?

“We saw a press briefing by the former SPFL chairman [Ralph Topping] and chief executive [Neil Doncaster]. That was followed up by a statement. We are not fully aware of the process that the SPFL has gone through. Clearly we got the letter which said they were representing the 42 clubs. But I can only talk about information myself and my board colleagues have received; we have had one letter from a member club asking us to do this. We don’t believe it’s in the best interests of Scottish football.”

Q. Is the general feeling in the game then that there is no appetite? How many clubs would need to contact you? And would you agree that it sounds strange

for the Celtic chief executive to say that all 42 clubs want a review into the Rangers EBT case, when Rangers are one of those clubs?

“That’s a matter for the SPFL and Celtic, with regards to the terminology used. It’s not something you can put a number on. I was using that to make the point that as a members’ organisation you get a sense, you test the temperature by the feedback you get. Other than Celtic we have not had a single request. We have got to the end of the process in our mind.

We have made decisions on all the key areas and the one area we feel is still in need of further consideration is from comments made in the Craig Whyte trial relating to the licensing decision of 2011. That has been referred to the compliance officer and is now a live case.

Q. It has been a polarising issue. Will we ever draw a line under it?

“I think it would be really difficult

to convince those who believe

in conspiracies that there isn’t

a conspiracy at play. My pushback to them is do we really think that four QCs, three law lords, all the club execs, all the independent panel members are all part of some huge conspiracy? Some stakeholders won’t ever get closure. This will be one of those topics that will be talked about for years and years to come.”

Q. Surely Celtic figures must have been on the SFA board when all these decisions were taken?

“We have representation from within our membership on the boards, so our senior clubs have all been sat on the various committees and the various bodies that exist in Scottish football

so they have been party to those decisions. And they have also been party to the improvements that have been made.

“One of the points I picked up

from some of the coverage over the weekend was that there was a desire to seek learning of lessons from what has gone on. We’ve learned every

step of the way. We’ve put in place new rules, we’ve put in place new procedures, both ourselves and the SPFL, for example the change of control certificate which now has to be lodged when a club is sold from one individual or body to another, bolstering the duty of good faith, recording of information in players’ contracts, powers for the Professional Game Board [PGB} and the non-PGB: we’ve done that and we haven’t done it or our own, our clubs have actually sat on the committees that have made the recommendations. So we have made changes, we’ve not just sat back and done nothing as a result of the events of the last six years.”

Q. Was the vote on the eight-man SFA main board on this issue a majority or unanimous decision?

“There are eight people on the board and the way a board works is through collective responsibility. We have discussions but we never – or very rarely – have a situation where we make a decision without rigorous

and robust debate. But when we

make a decision there’s collective responsibility. There are eight involved in the SFA board and seven were at the meeting.”

Q. If the ongoing wee tax case

SFA review turns out negative

for Rangers will it not inflame

the situation further?

“You can only deal in facts and evidence. If new information has come to light where a former director of a club stands up in a court and provides information that is different – allegedly – to what was provided to the SFA when the decision was made we have a duty to investigate that.”

Q. If you are willing to revisit the wee tax case why is there no review into the Big Tax Case?

“We haven’t had any new information raised with us by member clubs. If they have new information or evidence that they feels falls into our jurisdiction we will deal with that.”

Q. Celtic’s statement said that if there isn’t an inquiry, it would call into question the SFA’s accountability, transparency and leadership. How do you react to that?

“Leadership is about listening to the majority and the 108. It’s not about dealing with minority issues. We have listened to everybody. That’s not to diminish the points made by Celtic.

I have a lot of respect for Peter and I’d do exactly the same in his position. He has a fiduciary duty to do what is the best interests of Celtic. They have the ability to [provoke their own investigation] through their own organisation, if they want to do so.”

Q. Surely your relationship with him must be damaged?

“No, I don’t think so. I have got a great relationship with Peter. We actually sat at the Champions League draw while all these letters were being exchanged. And I do feel the new SPFL chairman Murdoch McLennan has a real opportunity to galvanise Scottish football. He is coming in at a great time. He has got a few issues that I’m sure he can get people round the table to discuss but we need unity.”

Q. Rangers won 13 trophies during the ‘EBT era’ but in 2013 Lord Nimmo Smith ruled ‘oldco’ did not gain any “unfair competitive advantage”. Is title stripping back on the agenda here?

“Celtic have gone to great lengths in their letters to emphasise that it is not about title stripping, that it is about process and learning. I think for some people out there, some stakeholders, groups, fans, maybe title stripping is at the heart of it for them. But that matter has been discussed by the SPFL and a line has been drawn under it by the SPFL and they have moved on.

“Normally in an independent review you have something, some issue that you review, some decision, some specific incident which you review. This is the events of six years. We feel that it is too vast, there are too many issues which we went through from 2011. The big tax case we had senior legal opinion in the boardroom telling us we had a limited chance of any success. The wee tax case we have dealt with through the compliance officer and any other issues are not in our jurisdiction. We feel we have gone as far as we can on this. Are we going to have an independent review of an independent review? Where do you draw the line?”

Q. Campbell Ogilvie, the former Rangers director and EBT recipient was SFA president during part of this period. Did his presence compromise the SFA?

“Campbell made a very clear point at the time when we were having this discussion of recusing himself from every single decision and discussion relating to Rangers. I don’t think there’s any finger that can be pointed at Campbell in terms of his involvement in any of these matters. He stepped outside and wasn’t involved at any time. A lot of everything we talk about is perception.

Q. How much is this about Celtic, Rangers, EBTs and SFA and how much is this a power struggle between SFA and SPFL?

“The politics behind it, we could sit here and second guess them. My job is to try and drive the game forward and focus on all the positives, not allow the past to drag us back.

Q. You wouldn’t be tempted to ever walk away from all this?

“No.”