RANGERS fans are still in the dark as to when they will be able to get their hands on the team’s new replica kit for season 2018-19 after a High Court judge ordered a trial in London later this month on the ongoing contract row between the club and retailers Sports Direct.

The court-ordered delay in selling the kit to fans is also a severe blow to the club’s finances due to its timing – Rangers’ competitive season begins tonight with a Europa League qualifying match against FK Shkupi of the Macedonian league, and thousands of fans would normally buy team shirts at this time.

An injunction was granted last week to former Rangers shareholder Mike Ashley, millionaire owner of Sports Direct and Newcastle United, against Rangers and its chairman Dave King over a merchandise deal.

The injunction prevented the sale of Rangers’ new strips which have been produced in partnership with Danish sportswear firm Hummel in a deal said to be worth as much as £10 million to the Ibrox club.

The injunction was continued until Tuesday when arguments about the dispute were advanced by lawyers representing both sides at a preliminary hearing in London.

Justice Phillips said he would give his ruling yesterday and continued the injunction. He continued it again yesterday, meaning Rangers still cannot sell their new kit – on the club website’s megastore last night they were still selling last season’s replica kit but the players wore the new Hummel strip in pre-season training and friendlies.

Ashley and King have been at loggerheads for some considerable time - the former was effectively ejected from the club by King – over the original seven-year contract which King said gave Ashley too much income that should have gone to the club. Rangers paid £3m in the last financial year to get out of that contract, but a company within the Sports Direct group, SDI Retail Services, says it had a deal allowing it to sell replica Rangers kit and other branded products.

That deal is expiring and Rangers want to sign a new deal with a third party. SDI bosses object and say their contract means they should have a chance to match any new offer. Yesterday, the judge said he would analyse evidence about the meaning of a contract clause at a High Court trial in late July.

Justice Phillips said Rangers should not sign any new deal until he had ruled on the contract row, effectively stopping kit sales.