Rangers exit 'traumatic for John Greig', says former chairman

John Greig and Alastair Johnston
Greig and Johnston are long-time and friends but no longer on Rangers' board

Leaving Rangers after more than 50 years at the Glasgow club is proving traumatic for John Greig, says former chairman Alastair Johnston.

Greig resigned as a director along with another former chairman, John McClelland, claiming they had been sidelined by new owner Craig Whyte.

Asked for his reaction, Johnston told BBC Radio Scotland: "Sadness - and I know that's the way John feels.

"It's a traumatic event for him, I can tell you, and that is no surprise."

Greig spent his whole playing career with Rangers - the 69-year-old was recently voted the club's greatest-ever player by fans - before a five-year spell as manager from 1978.

He rejoined the club's public relations team in 1990 and was involved again in coaching before being appointed to the board in 2003.

Greig survived as a director despite having put his name to a statement expressing concern about the Whyte bid before the businessman completed his takeover.

But, in a week when ex-director Donald McIntyre followed former chief executive Martin Bain freezing some of the club's assets as they lodged court cases against the club, the former Scotland defender also elected to leave.

"I talked to him this morning because I know this will be the first day he will have woken up not being associated with Rangers for 50 years," said long-time friend Johnston.

"Like everybody else, he is very confused by activities around the club at this point time.

"But I think John's like a lot of fans. As long as Rangers are winning, he doesn't care so much about who owns the club or any of the other stuff."

On ongoing tax case means Rangers could owe Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs up to £49m and the new owner has himself admitted that there are challenging times ahead for the Scottish champions.

Johnston, who had himself been removed from the board when Whyte took over from former owner Sir David Murray in May, has previously voiced concerns about the future of the Ibrox club.

"Obviously there's a lot of factors went into his situation and I am not going to speak for John at this time," he replied when asked about the reasons behind Greig's decision.

"At this point in time, I have stepped back. I am obviously a very concerned observer as well as the fans."

However, Johnston thought that the presence of Greig, a statue of whom sits outside Ibrox Stadium, would be a big loss to the club.

"To me, what we'll miss, at home or away games, John was always the ambassador for the club, travelling with the team, being in the boardroom, meeting the other directors," he said.

"Especially in foreign parts, he was a terrific ambassador for the club.

"It was a great move by David Murray to put him in there.

"John got that position after we played Manchester United several years ago, when Bobby Charlton acted in that role, and he said to me, 'what about getting Greigie in as an ambassador for the club and putting him on the board?'

"So John joined the board at the same time as me and I think he's been a great servant for the club."

Meanwhile, Rangers manager Ally McCoist paid tribute to Greig following Tuesday's win 1-0 win over Liverpool in an Ibrox friendly.

"John Greig has been fantastic for this football club and holds a special place in the hearts of every supporter, myself included," he said.

"I would just like to thank him. John has been great with me, fantastic."