THE numbers will speak for themselves. As the Scottish Government decides on figures, Scottish football counts the cost.

Once again, the game is facing the harsh reality of Covid chaos. Once again, Hampden must adopt and adapt following a Holyrood diktat.

From Boxing Day onwards, just 500 supporters will be permitted to attend matches across our game. Whilst the lower leagues will play on, the Premiership will break in the hope that the country is in a very different place three weeks down the line.

That is the dream, but it may not become the reality. If it doesn't then the bills will continue to mount as clubs feel the full force of the Government's decision to cut away their main financial lifeline.

Such drastic calls cannot be made without full cognisance of the repercussions and SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster hopes his members are suitably compensated for the latest round of rules and regulations they have been ordered to comply with.

Doncaster said: "We have been told very clearly that there will be financial support to cinch SPFL clubs as a result of these restrictions being imposed.

"We don’t know what the numbers are yet and we are hoping to get those numbers and that clarification within the next week.

"You are absolutely right, the situation has been crippling, continues to be crippling, for the cinch SPFL clubs and it is vitally important that we get as much financial support from the Scottish Government as possible in light of these Scottish Government decisions.

"What I am keen not to do is make this a political discussion, and I am sure you will understand why. What is important, sport is devolved and it is the Scottish Government that has the discretion as to how many fans can be allowed into stadia.

"They have imposed the restriction of 500 fans and that has not been matched by UK Government. We are in a situation where we are restricted north of the border and we have full stadia in England.

"We have been promised that there will be financial support from the Scottish Government and we are awaiting details of that.

"I think the Scottish Government do understand how critical finances are within Scottish football and how important it is that we get as much funding as possible as early as possible."

The notion that crowds will go from 500 to 50,000 in the space of a couple of weeks seems fanciful but that is the hope that the League and its clubs must cling to heading into the New Year.

The point has been made in several quarters that a few hundred inside Ibrox or Tynecastle is a very different proposition to the same number granted entry to Fir Park or Cliftonhill.

Dave Cormack, the Aberdeen chairman, made a personal plea to Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday evening to postpone the rule changes until next week. As the SPFL watch on, it is destined to fall on deaf ears.

"We have been in constant dialogue with the Scottish Government," Doncaster said. "We have been clear that in outdoor stadia it is difficult to understand the justification, in stadia that hold upwards of 60,000 people, why just 500 are allowed in.

"But we have to make the best of what is a difficult situation and we will continue to liaise with the Scottish Government and hope very much that restrictions are lifted at the end of the three week period and we can go back to full crowds.

"Clearly with as many big games coming up, the traditional New Year derby games – the city derbies, Edinburgh derby and Glasgow derby – they have now been moved back to the beginning of February live on Sky.

"We are very hopeful we will be able to have them in front of crowds and those games are hugely important commercially for our clubs.

"I think it is also important at this stage to thank Sky Sports for all the support that you have given, and also Police Scotland.

"We wouldn’t have been able to make this change and bring forward the winter break and to work with the clubs to agree that without the help of Sky Sports and Police Scotland. We are extremely grateful for that flexibility."

The revamped fixture list will see two rounds of fixtures rescheduled for January and February as the SPFL - at the request of member clubs - use up the only free dates that were available to them.

Rangers and Ross County both stated their opposition to the blueprint amid fears of fixture congestion but the board would ultimately accept the wishes of the majority as the calendar was redrawn at short notice.

Doncaster said: "It wasn’t unanimous. It was an overwhelming view from the cinch Premiership clubs when we met them on Tuesday evening that there should be postponements to the games.

"There were three festive fixtures and the overwhelming view at that time was that we should be postponing all three.

"We only have two available slots prior to the split in the New Year and when we met with the board [on Wednesday] evening, there was a broad view that Ron Gordon’s very helpful compromise suggestion of playing on Boxing Day but postponing the December 29 and New Year games was the right approach.

"We know that is causes difficulties with further congestion and we have been clear with the clubs about that.

"It was an overwhelming view from the clubs that we should be postponing games and I think the responsible thing for the board to have done is to listen to that view and respond to it. I am pleased that the compromise that has been put forward has been put into affect."