Mike Ashley could have wiped off the Rangers debt “overnight” and transformed the club’s fortunes, according to Frank McAvennie.

The Celtic legend made the huge claim about the Newcastle United owner as he assessed how the Ibrox giants are struggling to rein in his former club.

McAvennie insisted Rangers are paying the price for failing to sanction the bid by Sports Direct tycoon Ashley to buy the club.

He acquired a minority stake in Rangers in October 2014 and attempted to increase this to the 30 per cent threshold but was rejected by the Scottish Football Association.

The longstanding Newcastle owner has subsequently been the nemesis of the Glasgow club and has been shafting them for years for every replica shirt sold.

“They have not got the money to match Celtic at the moment,” McAvennie told Football Insider. “I do not understand why they did not want Ashley to take over Rangers. There is lots of politics but I don’t care where my money goes at Celtic so long as Celtic put a good team on the park that I can go and watch.

“Ashley could have wiped the debt off overnight. I do not understand the politics of it.

“But saying that. I am delighted they never won anything. They are a good team but the players coming through are not as good as the first team.

“They need players to come in on loan for a season but they need enough players to last a whole season. I do not think they have that in their locker at the moment.”

The Ibrox giants have been mired in a series of legal rows with Ashley for seven years over claims to the club’s merchandising rights.

Rangers claimed when announcing their bumper new kit and retail deal with Castore last month they have finally broken free of Ashley’s shackles after extensive litigation in the High Court in London.

In other Rangers news, this is the task facing Rangers to sign lifelong Ger who Boyd claims can stop Celtic title.

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