BBC Alba set for record audience as Rangers newco’s first match is broadcast live

BBC Alba almost certainly notched up its highest audience ever yesterday when the Gaelic channel broadcastslive the Ramsdens Cup first-round tie between Brechin City and Rangers newco.

Despite the commentary being entirely in Gaelic, it expected that the channel drew in a core audience of English speaking Rangers fans, curious to see the first match of the newly formed footballing side, led by Ally McCoist.

In the end Rangers newco won 2-1 against Brechin, taking until extra-time to score the winning goal.

The match had been in doubt until the Ibrox side was granted a temporary membership by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) late on Friday. The paperwork will be completed this week to make full membership official.

Meantime, the Scottish Premier League (SPL) and Scottish Football League (SFL) have confirmed that contracts should be signed this week with BSkyB and ESPN to show matches from the Scottish Premier League and Irn-Bru Third Division this season.

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster said on Friday night: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement. Discussions will now continue with our broadcast partners and we expect to be in a position to make a further announcement next week on [TV] rights.”

The deal is expected to reveal that BSkyB will have the rights to 30 games - starting with Celtic versus Aberdeen at Parkhead next Saturday lunchtime, then Rangers newco's opening third division encounter at Peterhead on August 11.

ESPN should have 35 live games and the first would be Dundee United versus Hibernian on Sunday, 5 August.