As UEFA have newly-reminded Steve Clarke, sometimes a little extra wriggle room can make all the difference.
The Scotland boss had been faced with having to cut his final squad for the Euros to 23 players, a task with a degree of difficulty approaching that of qualifying in the first place.
However, with the European body keen to lessen the load on players going into the Finals off the back of Covid-compressed club campaigns, managers will instead be allowed to pick 26 men.
Which leaves Clarke some leeway to either spare a couple of the campaign’s willing warriors – and there have been plenty – from the chop.
Or, indeed, to pack a couple of the most-exciting young talents – Nathan Paterson, David Turnbull and Billy Gilmour come to mind – by way of luxury items along for the ride to gain experience.
It is a sensible concession to bewildering times, and for Clarke it will have felt heaven-sent.
Members of the Scottish Football Writers’ Association, who have been choosing their Manager of the Year ahead of tonight’s voting deadline, had no such get-out.
Arriving at a decision in this category can be tough enough at the best of times.
This year it has been tortuous.
Why? Because this year, the cut-off point leaves you with two very different answers.
One is that the identity of the Manager of the Year is based on everything we have seen so far.
The second is that another man – currently well in the running, anyway – could, by the night of May 22, look the outstanding candidate for the silver quaich.
The exceptional job Steven Gerrard has done in leading Rangers to the title is there for all to see, in numbers and letters, at the summit of the Premiership table.
Played 35. Won 29. Drawn 6. Lost 0.
It doubly underlines Rangers’ status as the best team in the country.
Only three matches – Celtic at home today, a midweek visit to Livingston, and then Aberdeen on Trophy Day at Ibrox next Saturday – stand between the team and an unbeaten league campaign.
But – and there definitely is one – the cups have been a very different story.
Painful losses to St Mirren in the Betfred and – in what was an extraordinary Scottish Cup tie last Sunday night – to St Johnstone, have extended the Liverpool icon’s poor record in the domestic knock-out competitions.
From the club’s half-dozen attempts under his charge, runners-up is the best they have managed, and they have done that only once.
Cups generate shocks. It is a huge part of their appeal.
The Saints’ win at Ibrox, after extra-time and penalties, was a rollercoaster ride for the Light Blues’ supporters and neutrals alike.
Rangers fans – denied the Double, and seeking to put the defeat in context – had only to look to lowly Hamilton Accies’ success in Govan during Graeme Souness’s time in charge, as well as even lowlier Berwick Rangers’ legendary win in 1967 for some perspective.
Yet, in raising the question whether the 2021 side can cope with pressure – something which has been largely absent in the league thanks to their storming form of the first half of the season – the defeats have forced even Gerrard himself to turn a critical eye inward.
The group, in which he includes himself, is not the finished article.
With option two, St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson, the equation is simpler.
Win next Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against St Mirren, and follow that up by beating the winners of Hibs-Dundee United in the other semi, and he will have pulled off an achievement for the ages.
Davidson would become the first non-Old-Firm manager to win both domestic cups in the same season since Alex Smith did so with Aberdeen in 1990.
He would also be able to boast that, in his first season as a boss in his own right, he had won more major trophies than Rangers have in a decade.
And more trophies than Aberdeen managed in eight years under Derek McInnes – all on a fraction of the budget of the country’s biggest clubs.
Here again we arrive at a “but”– and it is a major one.
It might never happen.
Combined, the scenarios amount to a conundrum fierce enough to produce some wriggle room where none was previously apparent.
My suggestion then for Manager of the Year?
The man picking 26 players to do the nation proud, having pulled off that trick himself by leading the team back to a major Finals for the first time since 1998.
And negotiating two nail-biting play-offs in doing so.
Step forward Scotland boss, Steve Clarke.
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