SCOTTISH football finds itself going back to the future. The dark days of 2020 could well return as the game faces up to another Covid-enforced shutdown.

The decisions made at Holyrood on Tuesday will have drastic implications at Hampden and the SPFL and Scottish FA are now back at the drawing board.

Here, Herald and Times Sport looks at four potential options - and the pros and cons of each - after the latest restrictions that will hit our game, our clubs and our supporters hard.


Pros: Stopping for a couple of weeks sooner rather than later would give Scottish football a chance to take stock. Whilst the country recovers, there is no impact on the schedule as games are played at a later date and the action can then pick up where it left off going into the second half of the campaign.

Cons: There is no guarantee that the restrictions will be lifted in January and bringing the Premiership shutdown forward will only shift the issue to a later date. Hampden cannot relay on clarity from Holyrood in terms of the timings and the SPFL could rue the missed opportunity to play fixtures when they had the chance if the situation worsens.


Pros: With crowds inside grounds and supporters on public transport not an issue, this option gives the SPFL the greatest chance of getting all the fixtures played. It doesn’t, of course, take into account player absences caused by the virus or self-isolation rules. Fans would at least be able to watch their team in action during a difficult few weeks.

Cons: The integrity of the competition is compromised as a result of teams playing different fixture lists in front of crowds and the financial implications for clubs could be huge. Without cash support from government, many are likely to struggle once again. As a product, the game just isn’t the same when there are to fans in attendance.


Pros: If a longer delay is the only way to ensure fans can see the season end in person, an extension may be needed to fit all the fixtures in. It would allow clubs to have supporters in their grounds and go some way to helping alleviate the financial burden if cash is guaranteed to be coming in further down the line.

Cons: Just think back to the 2019/20 campaign. TV deals are in place, player contracts end in the summer and international fixtures must be squeezed into the schedule. Any extension also has a knock-on impact on next term and aligning Scottish football with the rest of the European and world game would be almost impossible.


Pros: If a truncated campaign was put in place, everyone would at least know how the end of the season would look and the winners and losers can be decided on the park rather than in a Hampden boardroom. Or via email. Removes many of the issues regarding contracts and potentially gives fans a chance to be able to take their seats for the final fixtures if the action can be restarted safely.

Cons: The sporting integrity – yes, remember that – of the competition would be lost and teams who miss out on titles or are condemned to relegation would be wholly entitled to make the same complaints as our game heard two seasons ago. Fans wouldn’t get value for money and TV contracts wouldn’t be met. That would all get very messy.