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Apr, 16, 2013

St Mirren chairman defends 'no' vote

The St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour has said voting against plans to restructure Scottish football was "the right thing to do".

Gilmour's club, along with Ross County, said no to the proposals at a meeting of Scottish Premier League clubs at Hampden on Monday.

That meant the restructuring could not get the necessary 11-1 majority needed, and frustrated Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne hit out at St Mirren, saying: "One club in particular you would need to ask just exactly what their agenda is - St Mirren.

"What was on the table for everyone to consider was... an opportunity to move Scottish football forward."

But Gilmour told the Daily Record: "Let all of them blast their shotguns.

"I'm still firmly of the belief, with all my heart and not letting it rule my head, that what I did at Hampden was the right thing to do.

"I still want to see elements of the reconstruction proposals - like a single league body - implemented. But not at any cost."

He said he would explain to St Mirren fans why he had voted against the proposals in due course.

The plans were for a 12-12-18 league structure. At the halfway point in the season, the teams in the top two divisions would split into three groups of eight, with the 'middle eight' having their points reset in their new mini-league.

They were described as "convoluted" by Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir when they were agreed in principle in January.

St Mirren had been in favour of a larger, 14-team division and said last week that the proposals should not be considered "a take-it-or-leave-it situation". Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson, however, had insisted: "It's this or nothing else."

In a statement on Monday, the SPL confirmed that both St Mirren and Ross County had voted against the proposed change to the voting system, saying what was on offer had been a "major and progressive" change.

The statement expressed the SPL board's "deep disappointment that proposals to benefit the entire game in Scotland have been blocked''.

Chairman Ralph Topping, who steps down from his post in July, said: "The proposals foundered on the opposition of two clubs.

"The package involved concessions from all clubs and was for the betterment of Scottish football as a whole." He added: "Scottish football needs to change."

A Scottish Football League statement said: The board of the Scottish Football League will meet on Thursday to review where we are, and a further statement may be appropriate at that time.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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