Scottish sports comment: Whatever the outcome of the vote on the future shape of Scottish football later this month we should be grateful that once settled we will not have to go through this divisive process again any time soon.
The 12-12-18 reform plan which was unveiled last week by the heads of the SFA, SPL and SFL — the three bodies running the game — provoked bickering in all quarters and precious little agreement.
First of all it sent Rangers owner Charles Green into a tailspin. The voluble Yorkshireman was furious that the proposed model would not see the Light Blues advance further than the lowest rung of the ladder, where they currently reside.
He then suggested Rangers — runaway leaders in Division Three — may look to play in another country, and bizarrely enough may even use sex discrimination laws to affect this if blocked by Uefa.
The other irritant for Green is that his club, who were admitted to the league only at the start of this season, remain associate members and therefore have no voice and no vote.
Following this outburst Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell backed the reconstruction plans while at the same time making it crystal clear that the Hoops are still looking to shoehorn themselves into another league.
Then SFA president Campbell Ogilvie metaphorically shrugged and indicated he would not stand in the way of either Glasgow club.
Fine, but here’s a newsflash — no-one is getting to leave in a rush — so we had better buckle up and get on with it.
One wonders what all the fuss is about? As far as I can tell there is nothing in the proposals — any of those put forward of late — which would bring about an instant transformation in the game’s fortunes.
Those driving change would no doubt insist they are taking action because Scottish football is dying, and doing so at some speed.
My feeling is that such suggestions are bound up in the vexed question of attendance figures without Rangers in the top division. From that flows the need for a mechanism to boost crowds and keep broadcasters interested in a remodelled and revived product.
The obvious intention is to bring about greater competition in the top two divisions, helped by throwing in the added spice of these leagues splitting into eights for the final third of the season.
All this, based on the Austrian football model, is fairly radical and interesting, though SFA boss Stewart Regan has admitted there is a need for an “educational exercise” to convince doubters who favour the expansion of the top flight beyond 12 teams.
There is another major point which none of us should ignore. How wonderful it would be, whatever the structure, to return to the days when sides such as Dundee United and Aberdeen could take on and beat the best in Europe
with lashings of home-grown Scottish talent.
The strong impression given is that these reforms are very much about upping the ante in the selling of the game. But another central focus must be nurturing many more top-class youngsters who can burst forth to entertain in the coming years. If not, no matter the format the game will most assuredly wither on the vine.
Gordon Strachan will be the new Scotland manager when the SPL return to action at the end of their mini winter break this coming weekend.
For once no-one can accuse the SFA of getting it wrong. The former Celtic and Southampton boss is an overwhelmingly popular choice. More than that, he’s the best man to succeed Craig Levein.
Strachan is a motivator and a patriot and, with 50 Scotland caps and appearances in two World Cups, he’s experienced and grounded. He’s also proved himself highly adept at getting results when the pressure is on.
With a limited budget at Parkhead compared to his lauded predecessor, Martin O’Neill, Strachan took Celtic to three titles on the bounce and into the last 16 of the Champions League — beating clubs like Manchester United and AC Milan during that spell in charge.
Things will rarely be dull with him at the helm, for his reputation for having little regard for fools is well deserved.
Ultimately he is a guy who truly wants the job. His appointment would offer a chance of stability and — believe it or not — even some success.
When the Ryder Cup arrives at Gleneagles next autumn it will be a big event for Scotland, but that does not mean a big Scot is needed to lead Europe.
Let’s be fair and frank. Colin Montgomerie has had his turn and a fine job he made of it at Celtic Manor back in 2010.
The great thing for European golf in the years to come is there are a host of other high calibre candidates — foremost among them the Irish stalwart Paul McGinley — who are ready and more than willing to take on the role.
If I were a player or fan watching from across the pond, I might just conclude that the recent uncertainty in the European camp over who should take the reins shows that in picking the redoubtable Tom Watson as captain the US
have already scored a small, but possibly significant, psychological victory over their opponents.
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