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Over-used Mertesacker in need of rest

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Rangers' pre-season tour scrapped

Rangers' summer of turmoil continued on Thursday when it was revealed that the "newco" club would be left without any pre-season fixtures after the organisers of a tour to Germany withdrew their invitation.

The development - which came a day after Charles Green's re-formed club was refused a place in the Scottish Premier League - followed the cancellation of pre-season friendlies by both Southampton and Le Havre.

"The Rangers Football Club has been informed by the organisers of our pre-season trip to Germany that they can no longer offer us a place on the tour," a statement on the club's official website said.

"The team was due to play three games in Germany between 18-25 July, but the trip will now not take place at their request."

Ally McCoist's team had been scheduled to play Bundesliga 2 side Eintracht Braunschweig, lower league side SV Rodinghausen and third-tier club Armenia Bielefeld.

The manager currently has only 13 senior players available after a wave of departures. Many players refused to transfer their contracts to Green's "newco", with the owner accusing them of opportunism and saying he would fight for compensation.

Rangers will have to wait until next week to discover which division they will play in, having submitted a bid to the Scottish Football League (SFL).

The SFL board has been told to convene next Thursday, and president Jim Ballantyne said club chairman had "a lot of thinking to do" as they prepared for the vote.

Airdrie chairman Ballantyne called for "cool heads" as clubs discussed the situation, saying: "We have a lot of thinking to do following everything that has happened in the last two days.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's a vote of the Scottish Football League clubs on what they wish to do with the SFL, and that's what the clubs will decide.

"There are things happening on the periphery and these will be noticed and may affect people's views or may not. I think just now is a time for cool heads.''

On Wednesday, the Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan warned that the game in Scotland faced a "slow, lingering death" if "newco" Rangers were not admitted to the First Division following their rejection by the SPL.

Fuelling speculation that an "SPL2" breakaway could happen, he said: " If Rangers were to go anywhere other than the First Division, then there would something in the region of £15.7 million worth of losses to the game."

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