DAVE KING fears Rangers have damaged their status and credibility in the Scottish game after getting 'overheated' in the cinch row that was 'blown out of proportion' last term.

Rangers embarked on a lengthy legal battle with the SPFL after refusing to provide sponsorship inventory to cinch in the first season of their £8million multi-year deal.

It was claimed that the agreement conflicted with a commercial contract in place with Park's of Hamilton - operated by chairman Douglas Park - and the Ibrox board would eventually triumph after several court cases.

Rangers are now no longer required to co-operate with the terms of a renegotiated sponsorship package but King believes the matter should never have escalated in the way it did.

King said: "I was disappointed by it because we had worked hard to restore Rangers’ status and credibility, in getting Stewart (Robertson) back on the Premiership board.

"We’d done a lot of work to get back to where Rangers' status naturally was but the willingness to work with Rangers clearly wasn’t there.

"I just think the whole cinch thing, from the club’s point of view, was blown out of proportion.

"I don’t see cinch competing massively with Douglas Park’s business. Douglas’ business is about providing transport, etc.

"I really think that Rangers got a little bit overheated in their reaction to the cinch thing. That could have been dealt with privately in a more dignified way.

"I don’t think it was good for Rangers and it wasn’t good for Scottish football in what was a relatively small issue.

"People shouldn’t have been drawing lines in the sand, and I include from the club’s point of view, in something as small as that."

The resolution in the cinch stand-off came just weeks before the start of the new campaign and represented a significant blow for under-fire League boss Neil Doncaster.

The Hampden chief executive is now aiming to clinch a new television rights deal with Sky Sports that could be worth around £30million per season until the summer of 2029.

That potential agreement has come in for criticism from several quarters but former Light Blues chairman King said: "Scottish football is valued at what it's valued. That's where we are.

"You argue whether it should be £27million or £35million. But Scottish football is valued based on the appetite for Scottish football. If people thought it was worth more, they would pay more.

"There's no doubt that Rangers' progress over the last few years, with Steven (Gerrard) coming to Glasgow and making a big difference has increased the profile of Scottish football and it's worth some more money.

"But there's a limit to how much Scottish football is going to generate. It's something we're just going to have to accept."

Rangers have helped raise the profile of the game in this country with their remarkable efforts on the continent over the last four seasons and their run to the Europa League final in Seville last term.

The appointment of Gerrard as boss was the catalyst for change on and off the park at Ibrox and Rangers have seen their own commercial incomes significantly boosted to record levels.

But King reckons those in charge of our game were too slow to capitalise on the good news in Govan and tensions between Hampden and Ibrox have now risen once again.

King said: "At the time Steven came in, these were decisions that were being made by Scottish football. It wasn't just Rangers.

"Obviously Rangers, from our point of view, were trying to maximise the benefit of Steven and I think we did that fairly successfully because Steven was a big brand in how own right.

"But Scottish football wasn't necessarily very Rangers-friendly at that time. I don't know if it is at the moment and how it's changed.

"But if Rangers came up with an idea that made sense for Scottish football, that was probably a reason to reject it by the hierarchy in place.

"They were certainly from being Rangers-friendly and there were certainly instances where Scottish football worked against its own interests in an attempt to put Rangers down.

"We made some efforts to recover that position. I think we did it a certain extent by working harder with the authorities, by trying to convince them that Scottish football was better off with a strong Rangers, a strong Celtic, in fact with all the clubs strong as far as possible.

"But it wasn't easy. Progress was made but unfortunately that cinch debacle probably set the club back again so Rangers is probably going to have to recover a little bit in terms of its own prestige and image because of that.

"But it's been very tough to get Scottish football to work with Rangers as an institution in the combined interests of what is good for Rangers and Scottish football."