By Richard Parks

Rangers wasted a golden chance to close the gap on Celtic by spurning Sport Direct tycoon Mike Ashley, according to Davie Provan.

The Celtic legend and Sky Sports pundit made the huge claim about the Magpies owner as he assessed the wreckage of a season in which the Light Blues are destined to once again fall well short of their rivals in the title race.

The Rangers board, chaired by South Africa-based businessman Dave King, 

The former Scotland international insisted King has made a huge mess of his three-year reign and Rangers are paying the price for failing to sanction the bid by Newcastle United owner Ashley to buy the club, which would have had the same impact as Celtic’s 1990s takeover.

“But for Fergus McCann, Rangers would have made ten-in-a-row without breaking sweat,” Provan wrote in the Scottish Sun on Sunday.

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“Instead, McCann completed the most successful share issue in British football history to re-boot the club. Three years later, Wim Jansen had the players to stop Rangers reaching the magic ten.

“But Rangers do not have a McCann or Dermot Desmond of their own. Despite the promises that saw Dave King win control, Rangers don’t have the means to lay a glove on Celtic.

“Their chance disappeared when they chased billionaire Mike Ashley down Edmiston Drive. Unless King finds oil under Ibrox, Celtic will coast to ten-in-a-row and a lot more.”

Football Insider verdict:

Ashley has been the owner of Newcastle since buying a majority stake in the club in May 2007, and, given the controversies of his reign, most Magpies would laugh at claims that he could possibly be Rangers’ saviour. The tycoon acquired a minority stake in the Light Blues in October 2014 and attempted to increase this to the 30 per cent threshold but was rejected by the Scottish Football Association and chased out of town by King and his cronies. Ashley is certainly not to everyone’s taste – either at St James’ Park or Ibrox – but he has access to wealth that King cannot match, and would surely have been able to invest more in the playing squad than the current regime.

In other Rangers news, the club must blow Celtic out of the water to sign the next Moussa Dembele.

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