SCOTLAND’S lower league clubs were celebrating last night after learning they will receive £7.5m of emergency funding from Holyrood to help them cope with the devastating financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The SFA informed all 10 SPFL Championship clubs yesterday that they would each receive £500,000 in non-repayable grants.

Meanwhile, the governing body told League One clubs they will be given £150,000 each and League Two clubs they will get £100,000 each.

The money is part of a £55m package for Scottish sport that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced earlier this month.

A total of £30m has been earmarked for football in this country and Premiership clubs will be able to apply to Holyrood for loans.

Ross McArthur, the Dunfermline Athletic chairman, described the money as a “life saver” and predicted it will help many lower league clubs survive the Covid-19 outbreak.

“We are taking in 50 per cent less income this year,” he said. “You can pare back costs, but you can only do so much. There are extra costs involved in satisfying the protocols too.

“This is fantastic news for Scottish football. It’s positive for everybody. Everybody is a winner. It’s a fantastic early Christmas present.

“It should ensure the survival of a number of institutions within Scotland, not just to the end of this season, but beyond, if everybody is prudent.”

Scot Gardiner, the chief executive of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, admitted that officials at the Highland club had been “emotional” when they learned how much they would receive.

“I’m lost for words,” he said. “It’s huge. I can’t state how positive and helpful this will be for the football club and our ability to operate and move forward.

“We had a situation where our bank balance was going down and down and down. We thought we had done a great job husbanding our finances since March.

“But no matter what we did the needle was just going down because we had no more revenue. We were under a colossal amount of pressure, keep-you-up-at-night pressure.

“When the email came through I was so relieved. I think I read it six or seven times. I had to ask my chairman if he was sitting down when I phoned him.

“I was enormously happy to see the number. What a boost! We have been working extremely hard to keep the wolf from the door and this makes a massive difference.

“I was hoping we would get six figures, but I didn’t know if that would £100,000 or £200,000. I hoped, but I didn’t know. Our club secretary and head of finance were extremely emotional.”

Gardiner added: “The problem we had was cash flow. Cash flow is what kills businesses. It was very difficult.”

“It wouldn’t be true to say there was an existential threat for us. But this allows us to sleep at night.

“Running a football club in the current circumstances has been extremely stressful. This money allows us to deliver everything we hoped we could. Without it, the stress would have been painful.

“We’re extremely grateful to anyone who has had any part in this because it makes a big difference to us and other clubs like us.”