IT feels very much like there’s a schism opening up in Scottish football over when to get back to action – the cans and the cannots.
Various start points have been suggested – July, August, October, January and beyond.
What is becoming increasingly clear, though, is there are clubs who can’t afford to play in front of empty stands without financial aid from elsewhere.
But there are also clubs who can’t afford not to be playing as soon as safely possible, empty stands or not.
In each of the bottom three leagues, there are teams on either side of this divide.
And it’s a divide which could have serious lasting effects on the long-term future of the SPFL.
The Premiership clubs have already stated they’ll be looking to start training again next month and a start date in August seems to be the target.
Of course, without a vaccine, it very much looks like there will be no punters there to cheer their teams on from the stands.
Sky Sports, though, want something to put on the air and, with a chunky new deal to kick off, the top flight can’t afford to consider any kind of mothballing, despite the immense costs to continually test personnel for Covid-19.
For Dundee United, that means they’ll kick off their long-awaited return to the top table quietly.
It’s not ideal but I’m sure if you offered Arabs the deal that their team would be back in the Premiership but they wouldn’t be there to see it, they’d take it.
As has been said often, these are unprecedented times and compromises have to be made.
Across the road, though, things are much more uncertain.
Dundee want to get back playing, behind closed doors or not.
The Dark Blues are in a relatively stable place financially right now but they’ll be back to paying a full squad’s wages in October when the furlough scheme ends – if there’s no football by that point, they’ll be paying big wages for no work.
However, other Championship clubs are clearly in a different position – my club Queen of the South have said it would be financial suicide to play behind closed doors for them – and they aren’t the only ones.
It doesn’t seem like there can be a compromise between these two stances. What happens then?
Will we see the ‘cans’ come together to form their own league temporarily and leave the ‘cannots’ to their mothballs?
We’ve all railed at the self-interest that has forever governed the SPFL – this all seems a more reasonable discussion but one that could, even if only temporarily, see some clubs leave others behind in the dust.
GORDON Strachan fairly rattled a few cages with his views at the start of the week.
The Dundee technical director takes exception to some clubs in the lower leagues surviving for survival’s sake.
From a man who has played and managed at the highest level, he’s certainly one whose views should be taken into account.
He called for more professionalism throughout the leagues and to get away from the part-time mentality.
But there is also an assumption there that being part-time is somehow a choice for clubs in the lower divisions.
These teams have to scrap for every penny so they can try to be competitive on the pitch. Cash isn’t exactly flowing, even in the Championship.
On the former Scotland manager’s opinion that we don’t sell our game nearly as well as we should, I wholeheartedly agree.
We hold ourselves back as a group by thinking only about ourselves – change that and the money will filter down the leagues and, hopefully, bring more professionalism.
CLUBS across the country are releasing their players.
It’s normal for the profession at this time of year but this time is different – players now can’t find new employment.
Dundee, as well as Falkirk and Ayr, should be applauded for resisting the urge to cut costs by granting the players at least a few weeks more pay.
When you see a club like Dunfermline release 17 players, it puts it into perspective.
I don’t think 17 will be the highest number we see either.
I was disappointed to hear my team Queen of the South release almost their entire squad.
Pretty much only Stephen Dobbie and Kevin Holt remain.
It’s a business decision but there is also a human aspect of looking after your staff.