THE way in which the SPFL arrived at the decision to end the 2019/20 Premiership season prematurely and decide final positions on a points per game basis back in April left a huge amount to be desired.

The events in the build up to a special resolution being passed that ultimately saw Celtic crowned Scottish champions for a record-equalling ninth consecutive occasions and Hearts relegated led to, rightly or wrongly, widespread accusations of bias and impropriety.

The alternative Rangers’ proposal getting thrown out. Dundee’s email going mysteriously missing. Allegations of bullying and coercion. The votes cast being made public before the final outcome was known. It was all highly unfortunate.

That uncertain period was, it shouldn’t be forgotten, difficult for everyone involved. Football had been shut down due to the Covid-19 outbreak in March, staff had been furloughed and clubs across the country were, with income streams suddenly cut off, concerned about their very survival. Still, those responsible could and really should have done far, far better.

An internal Deloitte investigation – not an independent inquiry that Rangers had demanded - and the SFA arbitration process that was launched after Hearts and Partick Thistle challenged their demotions have done very little to restore faith in the SPFL board and executive among supporters.

Yet, nothing that happened during that tumultuous time necessarily means the final outcome that was arrived at wasn’t the correct one.

Declaring the campaign null and void and scrapping promotion and relegation would have incensed Celtic, Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers not to mention broadcasters, advertisers and sponsors and led to hefty compensation claims as well as expensive and protracted legal battles.

Playing to a finish behind closed doors when lockdown was lifted, as the sorry developments in the past fortnight have shown, would also have been hugely problematic and could have had potentially catastrophic consequences going forward.

The fact the top flights in England, Germany and Spain completed their fixture lists behind closed doors this summer and Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid won their respective leagues in the conventional manner has increased the sense of frustration felt by many fans here. Why couldn’t we have done exactly the same thing in Scotland?

Comparisons, though, with those major football nations are futile. The Bundesliga resumed in mid-May and was wrapped up by the end of June. The Premier League returned in June and was done and dusted before July was out. La Liga was exactly the same.

The Scottish government only gave the green light for the Premiership to kick-off again on August 1. When, then, would the nine outstanding games have been played? By mid-September at the very earliest. More to the point, when would the new term have gone ahead? Would it have been in October? Or even November?

How could the poor souls responsible for scheduling have managed to cram in all 38 league games into a seven or eight month time frame? The fixture list is already crammed fuller than a city centre bar in Aberdeen as it is.

The outstanding Scottish Cup semi-finals and final have to be staged before next season’s competition gets up and running. Then there is the Betfred Cup to factor in. There are European ties for Aberdeen, Celtic, Motherwell and Rangers. There are a plethora of international games to consider too.

But let us say the SPFL had chosen to go down that road and Premiership clubs were currently in the process of playing out the 2019/20 season. The imbecilic actions of Aberdeen players Bruce Anderson, Craig Bryson, Sam Cosgrove, Mikey Devlin, Jonny Hayes, Matty Kennedy, Dylan McGeouch and Scott McKenna and Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli would have caused untold chaos.

The SFA and SPFL Joint Response Group yesterday accepted a request from Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Joe FitzPatrick to postpone the Pittodrie and Parkhead club’s games this week following the flagrant breaches of strict coronavirus protocols.

That is going to cause huge headaches for everyone involved. But it is really just as well it is the new campaign, not the last one, which will be affected. When would the Premiership finally have been concluded? It would have been an almighty mess and no mistake.

The new £130m television rights deal with Sky Sports has kicked in. How would that major stakeholder feel if they had to wait for months to screen their first live game and then got asked if they could accommodate a radically revised fixture list? There would unquestionably be financial repercussions. And that, given everything else our clubs are having to contend with, has to be avoided at all costs.

If any more players break the guidelines in the coming weeks then First Minister Nicola Sturgeon could well carry out her threat to suspend play once again. There promise to be many more months of upheaval.

If a league which Celtic were leading by 13 points with eight games to play was still being contested the Scottish game would be in a far more precarious state.