Jul 20 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
ANNAN Athletic could make history next season if Rangers’ entry into the Scottish Third Division is confirmed.
The Galabankies have never faced the Glasgow giants before but could be set for at least four meetings this season if Charles Green’s newco is admitted into Scotland’s lowest senior tier.
But assistant manager Euan Brydson insists that any game against the Ibrox side next season would be treated the same as any other.
He said: “Obviously things have still to be confirmed but having Rangers in the league would certainly be something new.
“I imagine it’s something that the players would be looking forward to, especially the potential of playing at Ibrox.
“But playing Rangers will be no different for me and I will be looking at it just the same as any other game. Having only joined the club recently this is all going to be new for me and I can’t wait for every game, never mind any specific game against Rangers.”
Annan were one of 25 clubs to vote against Rangers being parachuted into the Scottish First Division, effectively leaving the Glasgow team with the third division as the only remaining option.
Charles Green’s club has yet to be granted the oldco’s SFA membership and won’t be able to assume life in the third division until this process is completed.
If the membership is granted, Rangers would take the place of belatedly promoted Stranraer and would play Annan at Galabank on September 15 and January 2.
Harry Cairney would take his team to the 51,082-capacity Ibrox Stadium on December 1 and March 9.
A huge increase in gates coupled with further potential sponsorship revenue could see all third division clubs land a huge financial windfall if the Gers were to enter the league.
Assistant Brydson is well aware of the financial boost that the club would land with Rangers in the league but says his attention is focused elsewhere. He said: “There is no doubt that Rangers would be a big draw financially and it will help all clubs in the third division in that sense.
“But all we are thinking about is our preparations for the new season and our game next weekend. The most important thing is to get our team in the right shape for the new season and we will focus on any potential Rangers game when the time comes.”
Annan’s impressive pre-season record continued this week with a 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir. Scott Chaplain’s second pre-season goal sealed the win on Ochilview 3G surface and Brydson was delighted with his side’s performance.
He said: “We can only take positives from the last few games and I was very happy with the performance against Stenny. Everyone played well and we were able to get the ball on the deck and play some nice attacking football. As I’ve said before, we have signed forward-thinking and attacking players and we are trying to develop the best possible system to suit this new squad.”
The Galabankies head to East of Scotland Premier Division side Spartans this weekend, once again playing on the all-weather synthetic surface.
Brydson added: “Spartans will be another big test for our players. They are a great side and one of the best in the East of Scotland league.
“We beat Stenny as the underdogs and Spartans will probably be feeling the same way going into this game. It’s another chance for us to play on the 3G ahead of this type of surface being installed at Galabank.”