FORMER Rangers owner Sir David Murray has said the collapse of the football club "should never have happened".

In the wake of the tax tribunal ruling which cleared the 'oldco' Rangers of wrongdoing in making £47.6million of payments to staff through an Employee Benefits Trust, Sir David said: "Nobody has won.

"There is no point in me waving a big flag and saying 'we have won' - Rangers has been destroyed."

The former club chairman, who sold Rangers to Craig Whyte for £1 in May last year, warned that the handling of the case by HMRC had not only killed Rangers but had raised serious questions about the publicity surrounding the case.

"There is going to be a lot of litigation now because the leakage on this is frightening," Sir David said, adding that his Murray International Holdings group had "copies of e-mails" which demonstrated the leaking of confidential details.

MIH has instructed its lawyers to review reports of the case in printed media and on the internet.

Sir David said: "What I find amazing is we were guilty until proven innocent. This is the only case in history where awards were given to TV programmes when there hasn't even been a result.

"But I need to stand back at the moment, this is not a time for triumphalism because nobody has won, the taxpayer hasn't won and Rangers hasn't won.

"This should never have happened."

Sir David confirmed that MIH had offered HM Revenue & Customs an out-of-court settlement two years ago worth more than £10m.

He said: "The amount of time, effort and fees could be seven to eight million quid on top of that.

"Clearly if that had happened we would not have ended up with Craig Whyte.

"The biggest question is why the Revenue knew in August 2011 that Craig Whyte wasn't paying national insurance and tax but didn't put him down - this has so many ramifications for business."

The EBTs were awarded to players as a top up to their salaries but the HMRC tribunal ruled the payments did not break tax law as they were made in the form of a loan.

Speculation has been mounting that HMRC could now pursue individual players and club figures for payback.

Mark Houston, of Johnston Carmichael Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, said HMRC would have no remit to do so - unless it successfully appealed the tribunal decision.

HMRC said it was considering its next course of action.