Scottish football comment: By the time the official ruling arrived from Lord Nimmo Smith it was already clear that his report contained something both to delight and anger just about everyone. Rangers were guilty on all three counts concerning the breaching of rules over the registration and payment of players, but there would be no retrospective title-stripping.
A curious affair, one which will further entrench the positions taken by the two sides of Scottish football - Rangers against more or less the rest - but let us focus on the key point. We must ask ourselves whether or not the decision, leaked long before yesterday lunchtime, provides justice.
This centres on whether, through using side-contracts in the form of employee benefit trusts - a controversial form of tax-free loans - the club sought advantage on the field.
The independent SPL-appointed commission found that "Rangers FC did not gain unfair competitive advantage from the contraventions of the SPL rules ... nor did the non-disclosure [of the EBTs] have the effect that any of the registered players were ineligible to play."
It has emerged that the three-man commission's hands were somewhat tied on the matter of eligibility because, according to SFA rules, a registration once accepted cannot not be revoked.
This may be a technicality but it is the stated reason why no "sporting sanction or penalty" could be imposed. And yet it is of fundamental importance to say that without offshoring a portion of wages there may have been far fewer high-profile signings at Ibrox between 2000 and 2011.
The ruling makes this point clearly: "If it had not been intended that the player would directly benefit from the EBT arrangements then there is no reason to believe that the player would have agreed to the overall financial package offered."
Certainly, then, EBTs were used to save Rangers money and offer better terms to signing targets. A fine of quarter of a million pounds was deemed sufficient.
The loss of five league titles - at the top end of the available sanctions - would have been of greater hurt, further tarnishing both the image and historical record of the Govan giant. The money, let us not forget, will not be paid since it is the liquidated oldco which is liable.
Where does this leave Scottish football? Certainly not with increased levels of harmony. Rangers fans, who until Thursday had refused to admit Nimmo Smith's panel had any legitimacy whatsoever, will celebrate with gusto, but I would urge restraint.
Supporters elsewhere may be so enraged by what they view as little more than a legal fudge which undermines the integrity of the game that they boycott fixtures at Ibrox. That would spark a tit-for-tat reaction from the Light Blue legions, who have already absented themselves from a trip to Dundee United this season, and a downward spiral in relations.
To paraphrase James Joyce, Rangers is a crisis from which we are still trying to awake. The ripples of the fateful decisions taken by David Murray and others more than a decade ago will continue to move across the pound for some time to come.
It's hard to escape the conclusion that far from helping us put the whole saga of recent years to bed what will be widely viewed as a weak and muddled verdict may only result in a further division in public opinion.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.