London (AFP) – Rangers’ attempt to force an independent investigation into the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) has failed after clubs voted against an inquiry at an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday.

The resolution drew just 13 of the 32 votes needed to pass, with 27 votes against and two clubs abstaining.

Rangers had joined with Hearts and Stranraer to force an EGM on the back of a controversial vote which ended the lower-league season, with standings decided on points-per-game, and handed the SPFL board the power to do likewise for the Premiership.

Should the top-flight also be called, Rangers’ bitter rivals Celtic would be crowned champions for a record-equalling ninth season in a row.

Hearts would drop down to the Championship, whilst Partick Thistle and Stranraer would also be relegated.

Rangers had called for the suspension of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and accused the organisation of trying to bully and coerce clubs into voting for the resolution.

“The last few weeks have been bruising ones for many people in our game. Far too many words have been spoken and written which have sown anger and division amongst clubs,” said SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan.

“That is a matter of the deepest regret to very many people in our game, myself included.

“I know those who proposed this resolution will be disappointed, but I trust that everyone involved, on both sides of this argument, will now respect the clear, democratic and decisive result we have seen today and allow our game to move forward together.”

Aberdeen, Partick and Stenhousemuir had all given the resolution their public backing, while Inverness and Falkirk had launched scathing attacks against the league hierarchy in recent days.

Most clubs have preferred to concentrate on the economic crisis facing Scottish football.

According to UEFA’s latest Club Licensing Benchmark report, gate receipts provided 43 percent of revenue for the 12 clubs in the Scottish Premiership, by far the highest in Europe’s top 20 leagues.

“We are satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the board or executive and do not consider that such an inquiry is necessary,” said Celtic in a statement.

“We now appeal to all clubs to look to the future in the knowledge that the threats which exist to the fabric of Scottish football are grave and unprecedented.”