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Rangers and bank on better terms - Alastair Johnston

Chief executive Martin Bain, chairman Alastair Johnston and manager Walter Smith
Johnston (centre) is charged with finding a buyer for Rangers

Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston believes relations with the club's bankers, Lloyds, have improved thanks to recent success on the pitch.

"The performance of the team overall last season has certainly eased the tension in the relationship", said Johnston on the Rangers website.

"Getting into the group stages of the Champions League made a huge difference going into our meeting with the bank."

The Scottish Premier League winners are £30m in debt and seeking a new owner.

The Ibrox side have won six trophies in the last three seasons and have lost only four of their last 60 domestic games since March 2009.

Having clinched the SPL title, the club has been rewarded with a place in the group stages of Europe's most lucrative club competition, thereby avoiding a difficult qualifying tie.

Speaking at the North American Rangers Supporters Association convention in Las Vegas, Johnston said of the meeting with Lloyds: "There was no point in having that meeting until we knew for sure where we were going to be, so we scheduled it for the day after the season ended.

"After that, we had a series of other meetings and now we are at least four months ahead of where we were last year in terms of working things out with the bank.

It will be their show after this coming season and I think this will be a great year to prepare them for that

Alastair Johnston on the future managerial careers of Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall

"Our relationship with them is a lot better this year. We have changed the protocol whereby Rangers executives are now dealing directly with the bank.

"Last year, we were going through the Murray Group and, to be fair to everybody, that wasn't the healthiest way of doing things.

"We're looking forward to a better relationship with the bank than we had last year going forward."

Johnston also told fans at the city's Flamingo Hotel that securing manager Walter Smith's future, along with assistant Ally McCoist and first-team coach Kenny McDowall, for another year offered the club continuity.

"Walter is a great coach and a great manager, but his presence, in my opinion, is vital in where Rangers are overall," he said.

"We went the extra mile to get him there, gave him a lot of time to think about it and I think we did all the right things at the right times.

"Also getting Ally and Kenny tied up is good because we want the fans to know we are stable, we have a plan and we know what we are doing.

"It means Ally and Kenny can go about their business without getting nervous or trying to impress.

"It will be their show after this coming season and I think this will be a great year to prepare them for that."

Meanwhile, Smith will take the squad to Australia on 20 July for the inaugural Sydney Festival of Football to play pre-season matches against Sydney FC, Blackburn Rovers and AEK Athens.

Chief executive Martin Bain said: "The club has a loyal fan base in Australia who will enjoy watching the team in action and we're looking forward to returning after 26 years.

"We enjoyed a successful tour of Australia in 1984 and this tournament will be good preparation for the 2010/11 campaign."

Rangers will return home on Monday 2 August and will play Championship winners Newcastle United at Ibrox on the Saturday.



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see also
Fan fears over Boyd's Ibrox exit
01 Jun 10 |  Rangers
Rangers keep Smith for final year
25 May 10 |  Rangers
Norwich swoop for Rangers' Smith
02 Jun 10 |  Norwich
Chick Young's view
25 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
Bid for Rangers delayed for weeks
19 May 10 |  Rangers


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