LOWER LEAGUE SCOTTISH CLUBS CAN TRAIN AGAIN
With Scottish football being an interesting melting pot of both full-time and part-time clubs within what is considered their professional ranks, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created all manner of issues.
Because although the likes of Rangers and Celtic can ply their trade in the Premiership and last season’s controversially relegated Hearts can attempt promotion from the Championship, the door has been shut on Scotland’s lower leagues.
The major contentious issue across the course of the season, is player welfare and most importantly, COVID-19 testing protocol, as although the measures have been widely accepted, there has been a financial thorn in the side of many clubs.
With the top two levels of the game being able to generate enough revenue to pay for player and staff testing, it has meant both the Premiership and the Championship have carried on largely unabated.
While although there has been the odd suspension due to a coronavirus outbreak, it looks likely that we will not only witness the Premiership winners being crowned but also some movement between the top and second tiers of the league setup.
This has meant for a large portion of the campaign, those who operate below the Championship have been considered as the outsiders looking in and although there is some news to be cheerful about, it only asks more questions of the other league competitions.
With those clubs within League One and Two being able to train once more - on the proviso that they pay for the necessary testing, it looks as if the ability to resume their seasons, is one that will be afforded to the 20 clubs that operate in these divisions.
However, time is running out to complete what is an already curtailed schedule and with the usual 36 fixtures (a double home and away fixture round), being trimmed down to 27 (a lopsided home and away fixture round, clubs meet each other three times), time is certainly of the essence.
Although, it seems as if time may already be running out and when you consider that there is an almighty backlog in the Scottish Cup to still work through, finishing anything outside the domain of Aberdeen or Alloa may be too tall an ask.
With that said, there is perhaps one workable solution and that is to cut the League One and Two seasons down further and instead opt for an 18-game schedule instead, even if there may be a slight imbalance in the home and away split.
While although this may work, some will feel that half measures are then not enough to allow such usual procedures as play-offs and relegation and especially, when talking about a team dropping into either the Lowland or Highland League.
With the fifth tier of the game in Scotland still inactive under these latest measures, the likelihood of their seasons being completed are growing more remote by the week and this may well be the answer to Brechin’s prayers.
Because with the trapdoor seemingly being locked for a second successive year, it means the struggling Glebe Park outfit will survive once more and this will only mean more frustration for the likes of Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers below.