JOCK Stein gave an irreverent response when he was once asked why he had overseen so much success at Celtic and how he had been able to enjoy such longevity in the Parkhead hotseat.

“The secret of being a good manager is to keep the six players who hate you away from the five who are undecided,” said Stein, with his tongue lodged firmly in his cheek.

Neil Doncaster, the SPFL chief executive, and Murdoch MacLennan, the organisation’s chairman, may have to adopt the same approach with the Premiership clubs in the coming days to weather the latest storm they have found themselves engulfed in.

That their handling of an independent review into the governance of the governing body should lead to “serious concerns” being raised about, er, the governance of the governing body does not, even though they have subsequently dismissed them, look good for the duo.

The numerous accusations contained in the statement which was jointly issued by Aberdeen, Motherwell, Livingston, Rangers, St Johnstone and St Mirren on Thursday morning were damning.

READ MOREInside SPFL governance row as 'filtered' report alarms clubs

The sextet expressed misgivings about the independence and transparency of a report which was commissioned when the SPFL were forced to apologise to Parks of Hamilton and Rangers and make a contribution towards their legal costs after losing a long-running dispute over the cinch sponsorship deal in July last year.

They alleged the executive team had made changes to the draft report they received before sending it out to board members. They claimed that only one member club had any input into the investigation outside of current or former board members. They outlined their unease that, despite repeated requests, the report had still to be released to the 42 member clubs who had paid for it.

There was, too, criticism of the SPFL statement which they asserted was released last month “without the approval or knowledge” of either the board members or the member clubs.   

MacLennan had remarked that he was “reassured but not complacent” at the conclusions arrived at by independent auditors Henderson Loggie following a three month review which had involved “detailed questionnaires and interviews with 15 stakeholders”. The six clubs, though, felt this “did not reflect the full findings of the report”.

The SPFL finally responded to the bombshell missive last night when they released a short – it was just 57 words long – statement which declared the letter they received had “contained a number of factual inaccuracies which have now been addressed with those clubs”.

So was it all just a silly misunderstanding? Did they get the wrong end of the stick and jump the gun? Has peace now been restored? Will everyone join forces and work together as one for the betterment of the game in this country? Do not hold your breath. There has long been wariness at how the SPFL operates.  

The very fact the six Premiership clubs felt compelled to go public with their misgivings suggests that, at the very least, there are serious issues with communication and approachability. Could nobody have picked up a telephone and provided some clarity? It all sounds a little dysfunctional. 

It is perhaps no great surprise this review has resulted in more acrimony and suspicion.

READ MORESPFL criticise 'factual inaccuracies' of Premiership 6 letter

Shortly after MacLennan expressed his “delight” about the cinch stand-off coming to an end, it was announced that James MacDonald of Ross County and Chris McKay of Celtic had been appointed to the sub-committee which would lead the process. Ross County and Celtic are not exactly renowned for being agitators for change.

The fact that the SPFL stressed the investigation would be carried out “under a specific remit” and “within the context of current articles, rules and regulations” set alarm bells ringing in certain quarters early on.

The fact that six Premiership clubs – Celtic, Dundee, Hearts, Hibernian, Kilmarnock and Ross County - declined to put their name to the open letter would suggest they are still supportive of Doncaster and Co. Will keeping them away from Aberdeen, Livingston, Motherwell, Rangers, St Johnstone and St Mirren enable them to move on?

They may have their work cut out. The views of the rebel group are shared in many boardrooms. Indeed, League Two outfit Stenhousemuir came out voiced their support for them yesterday. 

There is a feeling that, with Rangers very much on the up and Celtic struggling to convince just now, the balance of power in Scottish football may be about to shift.

Could there be a changing of the guard on the sixth floor of Hampden as well? It may, if trust and harmony cannot be restored, be no bad thing if there was. A bitter civil war will do nothing to help the game in this country move forward and meet the many challenges which it faces. 

It is ironic that these highly alarming grievances have been aired just days after calls for the Scottish government to appoint an independent regulator were dismissed during a debate at Holyrood. This row is exactly the sort of nonsense that could be avoided if such a figure existed.