SFL chiefs were today poised to condemn Rangers into the bottom tier of Scottish football – and risk plunging the game into outright civil war.
Chairmen of the lower league clubs met at Hampden for the historic vote that will determine the newco Ibrox club's fate.
And last night, all the indications were pointing to them insisting that Rangers start off in the Third Division.
That move could bring them into conflict with SFA chief Stewart Regan and his SPL counterpart Neil Doncaster.
Both bodies have threatened to impose an SPL2 on the game if the SFL insist Rangers newco start life in the fourth tier to ringfence TV and sponsorship deals.
But, as they met round the table at Hampden today, all the signs were pointing to a clear majority giving the thumbs down to the newco being voted into the First Division.
And, in yet another twist, it was revealed Airdrie United and Dundee, who had previously opted to abstain due to a conflict of interest, will now have to vote after the SFL received legal advice last night.
Rangers need at least 50% to win a place in the First Division, but 18 clubs looked set to snub Sevco Scotland – the parent company set up by Charles Green to run Rangers – being parachuted down a tier.
Last week, Regan warned Scottish football faced "a slow death" if the SFL voted Rangers into the Third Division.
To ward off that apocalyptic scenario, the SFA, the SPL and the SFL issued a radical package of reforms which would see the SPL increase to 14 teams for the beginning of the 2013/14 season, with a mechanism in place to add two more at a later date.
Changes to the size of the other leagues as well as the merging of the ruling bodies, the redistribution of monies, parachute payments, play-offs and a pyramid system are also on the agenda.
But there is little sign this trade-off has appeased SFL clubs, with Dunfermline chairman John Yorkston questioning the doomsday scenario as he entered today's meeting.
He reiterated his club's stance and said even if the mooted £16million 'black hole' is correct the SFL clubs will deal with it.
"Dunfermline have made their position clear," he said. "I think that is the way it has got to go. We need to see what the ramifications are. Obviously other people are looking at the financial situation.
"I don't think everybody necessarily believes those figures we've been given but if the figures are correct it is part of the pain we have to bear."