The return of fans to stadiums and Champions League football is essential to Rangers if they want to become financially self-sufficient.

That is according to finance guru and Football insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after it was confirmed that the winners of the 2021-22 Scottish title will qualify automatically for the Champions League group stage.

Rangers will also compete in the group stages of the Champions League next season – worth a minimum of £40million – if they progress through the qualification rounds.

Rangers posted a £15.9m loss in their last set of financial results and have turned a profit just once in the past eight years.

They have relied enormously on external investment over the past decade as they have attempted to bridge the footballing gap with Celtic.

But Maguire notes that Rangers could achieve financial independence as early as next season.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams: “I think they will need a few years of Champions League group stage income to be completely secure. That is the key to them becoming competitive on a regular basis.

“But they should be able to stand on their own two feet next season, assuming crowds returning.

“That should allow them to no longer have to cap in hand to the owners to provide additional funding.”

Maguire previously told Football Insider that Rangers could be on the brink of a dynasty unless Celtic owner Dermot Desmond invests in the transfer market.

Rangers had the league title wrapped up by 7 March, mathematically putting an end to Celtic’s 10-in-a-row ambitions.

In other news, a top pundit claims Rangers will be delighted with the transfer attention one of their on-loan stars is getting.