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By ESPN Staff

Stricken Gretna survive fresh closure scare

Stricken Gretna were hauled back from the brink today after a series of crisis calls to the Scottish Premier League.

The club's administrators almost pulled the plug on tomorrow's SPL game against Inverness amid fears the Borderers were running out of money.

It is understood an ultimatum was offered to league bosses to either hand over more cash or see the game abandoned, which would have plunged Gretna deeper into crisis.

A van was even being loaded up with the club's remaining merchandise, sparking fears among staff that Gretna were in shut-down mode.

It later emerged the goods were being sent for valuation.

A club source said: 'It was touch and go for a while, they needed more money to keep the club going.

'Clearly the SPL heeded the warning and the game can go ahead.'

Administrators Wilson Field had also been in talks with caretaker boss Mick Wadsworth all morning.

He left the club just before confirmation the match was going ahead, furious at the uncertainty.

But Gretna's assistant coach, Andy Smith, now hopes sufficient money will be available to the club to see out the rest of the season.

Smith said: 'There was a wee bit of uncertainty but I think it just needed the administrators and the SPL to get round the table.

'The players left today, not 100% sure, but we told them we expected the game to be on and thankfully that's the case.

'I don't know the full details but I think there was a problem with the financial aspect of playing tomorrow's game.

'We only were aware yesterday that there was a possibility the game was in doubt.

'It doesn't help when you are trying to prepare for the game but we've always felt that the SPL wanted the game to go ahead, so did the administration people.

'We are hoping that today things are sorted out which sees us until the end of the season.

'We don't want any more obstacles in the players' way.

'If that has been secured today, then that will be a great relief to everybody as the players have been asking a lot of questions.'

Two consortiums appear to be the front-runners for any takeover bid for the Raydale Park side.

Smith is hopeful one of them will secure already relegated Gretna's future beyond the end of the season.

'There is certainly an American consortium and another one from this country,' he said.

'They seem to be the two biggest candidates and from what we've heard about these two companies, they do see it as a chance of keeping the club.

'But it has to come down to firm offers and that is outwith our hands.'

Smith will join fellow coach Iain Scott and boss Mick Wadsworth on the sidelines at Fir Park tomorrow for the home game against Inverness.

He has reiterated his claim that the depleted squad are playing for their futures.

He said: 'For them it's all about securing hopefully SPL football next year or maybe English clubs.

'There are a lot of scouts watching the SPL now because of how well our teams have done in Europe.

'It might be a meaningless game but they are playing for their careers now.'