Rangers appeared to call a truce in their long running feud with SPFL bosses when they publicly thanked the league for helping Giovanni van Bronckhorst prepare for a shot at European history.
RecordSport revealed on Monday night that an agreement had been provisionally thrashed out to switch Sunday’s top flight trip to Fir Park to a lunchtime kick-off slot on Saturday in order to give Van Bronckhorst and his players an extra 24 hours to get ready for next Thursday’s Europe League semi final first leg against RB Leipzig.
But the rescheduling needed to be rubber-stamped by Police Scotland before it could be officially announced.
And after a long weekend of back channeling between the SPFL and cops the proposed rearrangement was finally approved late on Tuesday afternoon.
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The delay prompted Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows to apologize to his own club’s fans for giving them just four days’ notice.
But it was Rangers who raised eyebrows across Hampden’s sixth floor when they took to social media to express their gratitude to those who agreed to facilitate the fixture switch – including the very league body which has been locked in their sights for much of the last two years .
The Ibrox club is still engaged in a bitter legal dispute with the SPFL after refusing to promote a £9m sponsorship deal with online car dealers cinch.
And they previously called for the head of chief executive Neil Doncaster when the Premiership was controversially shut down at the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, with the title being awarded to Celtic on a points per game basis.
But the hatchet appears to have been at least partially buried by the 11th hour move to make sure the wishes of Van Bronckhorst and his players have been accommodated ahead of next week’s trip to Germany.
A Rangers statement read: “This weekend’s SPFL match with Motherwell at Fir Park has been brought forward 24 hours to 12 noon on Saturday.
“Rangers would like to put on record our thanks to Motherwell FC, the SPFL, Sky Sports and Police Scotland for agreeing to the change of date.”
And, for their part, the SPFL also released a statement in which they wished Rangers the best of luck in their quest to make history.
A spokesperson for the SPFL said: “We received a request from Rangers to bring forward their game away to Motherwell, which was scheduled for Sunday 24 April, to the previous day, giving Rangers more time to prepare for their Europa League semi-final against RB Leipzig.
“We are very pleased to be able to accommodate this request and the Motherwell v Rangers game will now be rescheduled to Saturday 23 April, with a 12 noon kick off.
“We would like to record our sincere appreciation to Motherwell FC, Sky Sports and Police Scotland for accommodating this change, and wish Rangers the very best of luck in their European campaign.”
But, after police chiefs stalled on making a final decision, Fir Park Supreme Burrows felt the need to apologize to Motherwell’s home support for the late change of plans.
He said: “Would like to apologize for the length of time taken to make this call and the subsequent lack of notice of the change, which has been largely out with our control. We were initially approached on Good Friday, but we were only given confirmation of the change at 3:10pm today.
“I totally understand the frustration at the lack of notice and apology for it (albeit it wasn’t us holding anything up). We wanted to try and get a Saturday fixture rather than Sunday, but it’s clearly dragged on for quite some time.”