CRAIG Whyte, the former owner of Rangers, blames the Ibrox club’s financial meltdown in 2012 on Sir David Murray and his board in his incendiary new autobiography.

Whyte admits “I made mistakes and I deeply regret that” in his book “Into The Bear Pit”, which will be published next Friday on the eighth anniversary of Rangers being put into administration.

The Motherwell-born venture capitalist also reveals the cost of his involvement with the Glasgow club has been “incalculable” and describes how he became “the most-hated man in Scotland”.

But in a book packed full of explosive revelations he singles out Sir David, who sold him Rangers for £1 in 2011, and his directors, who he describes as “pompous buffoons”.

Glasgow Times:

“David Murray and the previous board are to blame for the downfall of Rangers,” claims Whyte.

“It was the ruinous EBT (Employee Benefit Trusts) scheme, which had been in operation for 10 years. The previous board could have battened down the hatches, they could have tried to build up a surplus of cash to deal with the ‘big tax case’. Yet they chose not to do that. They chose to bury their heads in the sand.”

Whyte, who was found not guilty of all charges relating to his takeover of Rangers after a trial in the High Court in 2017, also writes that Sir David downplayed the significance of the “Big Tax Case”, a tax bill potentially running to £49m for their use of EBTS, during their negotiations over the sale of Rangers.

“When I raised the issue of the tax case with David Murray he made out that it wasn’t a big deal,” he writes. “It had been blown out of all proportion. They were confident of winning the case and even if they didn’t the liability was only going to be a couple of million pounds.”

Glasgow Times:

Whyte reveals that Derek McInnes had been lined up to replace Walter Smith as Rangers manager in 2011 – but it was considered too expensive to “get rid” of his assistant Ally McCoist because of his “ridiculous contract”.

Whyte estimates failing to qualify for the Champions League group stages in 2011 cost Rangers between £15m and £20m – and insists he would still be at Ibrox if Walter Smith had stayed on as manager.

“It was probably the moment when the inexperience of our young manager (Ally McCoist) was most exposed,” he said. “Had Walter Smith still been in charge and been able to guide us into the Champions League I firmly believe I would still be the owner of Rangers today.”

Glasgow Times:

Rangers were put into administration on February 14, 2012, due to the non-payment of around £9m of PAYE and NIC – and Whyte recalls how he immediately became “an outcast” and received “hundreds of death threats”.

Whyte also admits he was unimpressed with the Rangers players and their commitment to the Ibrox club. “In the main footballers struck me as mercenaries,” he said. “They were there for the money, not because they loved the club.

“They got in at 10.30am, had a run around the pitch, got their free breakfast, their free lunch and then they disappeared. What a life. “The club doctor told me a player had picked up a sexually transmitted disease and his performances had seemed to dip as a result.”

Glasgow Times:

Whyte was banned from being involved in football for life and fined £200,000 by the SFA at a hearing after Rangers went into administration. He is scathing about the governing body and their failure to punish Rangers for their use of EBTs.

“They struck me as being completely clueless,” he said. “They were complete clowns. They had a lot to say about me at the time, but did they say anything about the EBT case? A club effectively cheated the game for years and no sanctions were taken against any of the individuals responsible.”

Glasgow Times:

Whyte describes former chief executive Charles Green as “a bit of a nutter” and recalls how the Yorkshire businessmen transferred the assets of Rangers from the Sevco 5088 shelf company which he set up to another company called Sevco Scotland Ltd and then changed the name to The Rangers Football Club.

“I didn’t take a penny from the club,” writes Whyte. “During the whole sorry saga of Rangers’ demise, I am about the only one that can say that. Charles Green didn’t do too badly out of it. But the cost to me personally has been incalculable. I was made bankrupt, lost my businesses and the reputational damage was off the scale. I would like to turn the clock back and have another go. I’d do things a hell of a lot differently.”