Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov has accused the Old Firm of “buying off” referees and players in Scotland.
The controversial Tynecastle chief is currently involved in a legal dispute with the Scottish Football Association after he appealed a fine for accusing Scottish referees of bias last season.
Romanov, who also has an interest in Lithuanian side FC Kaunas, could be in trouble again after yet another astonishing outburst on the state of Scottish football and the influence of its two biggest clubs, Celtic and Rangers.
Speaking in the Russian magazine Futbol, which was transcribed into English in the Daily Record, Romanov said: “Celtic and Rangers? Even Kaunas are a match for them on the pitch.
“They have turned football into a type of showbusiness with their underhand games. They buy off players and referees. When it comes to weaker teams then nobody can help.
“But if two opponents are equally matched then the referees can have a real influence on the outcome.”
Asked why Eduard Malofeev failed to win a game in his four-week period as Hearts boss last year, Romanov said: “Well, if you’ve got five people in the team working for Rangers and Celtic, what do you expect?”
The Jambos transferred Steven Pressley and Paul Hartley to Celtic in the January transfer window after the two players, along with goalkeeper Craig Gordon, had publicly revealed “significant dressing room unrest” at the Gorgie club in October.
However, Celtic chairman Brian Quinn dismissed the allegations and threatened to sue.
“I think it is absurd. Absolutely ridiculous. If he is saying this I will take legal advice on this today,” he told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.
“The Scottish Football Association will clearly take a clear view of this.”