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Sir Kenny Dalglish: A one-off play-off would be a fairer way of determining where Hearts play next season

© Ross Parker / SNS GroupAnn Budge has been fighting for Hearts’ Premiership future
Ann Budge has been fighting for Hearts’ Premiership future

We’ll find out tomorrow if the vote to move to a 14-10-10-10 SPFL has enough support to take it to the next stage of it would be tabled as a detailed formal resolution.

The reconstruction has been driven by Hearts owner, Ann Budge, and there is clear, and understandable, self-interest involved, given the position her club finds itself in.

I don’t think, however, that increasing the size of the Premiership to 14 teams should guarantee that the Jambos avoid relegation.

The current recommendation would be that Inverness Caley Thistle join Championship winners, Dundee United, to get the Premiership numbers to the required amount.

Fair enough. But in the interest of the much-trumpeted sporting integrity, I’d like to see it go further.

My suggestion is that Hearts should play Dundee, who finished third in the Championship, in a play-off match. A one-off game at a neutral venue.

Surely, such an important decision should be decided on a football pitch and not round a negotiating table?

Remember, Hearts finished bottom of the league. So why should they be given special treatment this season?

And would Ann, the management and the players not feel better about themselves if they felt they had earned the right to be in the Premiership next season by achieving it on the field of play?

I know Hearts is a big football club. They have a brilliant stadium at Tynecastle, one of the most atmospheric in the country when it is full, and they have a great tradition.

In an ideal world, you would have them in the top flight all day long.

But they have finished bottom of the league. There has to be a penalty for that.

Playing Dundee would give them that one last chance to show they are worthy of being in the top flight.

What a game it could be, and the interest in it would be phenomenal.

Sure, I can hear many people saying that the time-frame for knowing which side would be in which division would be an administrative nightmare for both clubs, and the SPFL.

But clubs are now starting back training, and this game could be played early to mid-July.

I’d be interested to hear Dundee’s opinion on this, and it might be something they’d look to include in any detail of a new vote.

The Dens Park club, I’m sure, would love to be in the top league.

That said, I’m not in favour of reconstruction. I have said consistently in this column that I believe it is the wrong time to be doing this.

You shouldn’t be rushing decisions of this magnitude, and definitely not doing it under the current global circumstances.

I’m also not sure that increasing the number of teams to 14 is going to enhance the product.

There is just as much chance you are going to dilute the quality on a weekly basis.

You risk there being a number of almost meaningless games in the middle of the table for the six or seven clubs bunched in there.

If there is an appetite for change, then put something together that can be discussed, debated and fine-tuned in the coming year.

Then if a vote is passed on the final resolution, implement the new structure for the start of season 2022/23. I believe that is a more logical way forward.

But, putting reconstruction chat to one side, it’s great to see Scottish clubs getting back to training, and working towards the Premiership returning on August 1.

Some have suggested that the training just now should be preparation for the resumption of the 2019-20 season to get it played out because we called time too early.

With leagues across Europe restarting, I can see where they are coming from.

However, it costs tens and tens of thousands of pounds to do regular testing, and that amount of money just isn’t in the Scottish game.

Also, the health and well-being of every footballer and club employee had to be put ahead of restarting the previous campaign.

So, yes, in an ideal world we would have finished the season – that’s what most clubs would have wanted – but it just wasn’t possible to hang on for so long.

The aim now is to be ready and healthy for the beginning of August. That is the sensible option.

This has brought a bit of optimism, as has the £3-million cash injection from philanthropist James Anderson.

The money has now exchanged hands, and the SPFL clubs will handle the applications from their member clubs to see if they are eligible for £50,000 each.

It was a sensational gesture by James – clearly made for all the right reasons – and he deserves every plaudit going for his generosity.