THE venues and kick-off times for the Betfred Cup semi-finals may have been sorted.
But the issue isn’t going away.
For me, that won’t happen until Neil Doncaster sits down and tells everybody exactly what happened – from the moment there was the possibility of Celtic and Rangers’ Europa League commitments impacting on the domestic competition to where we are this morning.
That mistakes have been made isn’t in question. They were.
But conflicting statements from the involved parties have muddied the waters.
The fans – the most-important people in all of this – feel they have been messed about, and want to know who was responsible for the embarrassing mess and the thinking behind the decisions taken.
I know the SPFL have had their say through their official statements.
The first – announcing the hair-brained idea of playing both semis on the same day at Hampden – was just 365 words long.
The second – an attempt to repair the damage with the solution we now have – was only 43 words longer.
That was nowhere near detailed enough, and there has still not been a proper explanation for the whole scenario when one is so desperately required.
Neil Doncaster should view an audience with the media as a good thing.
He has taken the lion’s share of the blame for an affair which raged across the back and front pages for the best part of two weeks.
That Celtic spent a good portion of their build-up to a crucial European away game against Red Bull Salzburg arguing the toss said it all.
This should be the time for the SPFL Chief Executive to clear the air.
If the errors made were down to him then, as the man at the head of the organisation, he should shoulder the responsibility and seriously consider his position.
If they weren’t – and that might very well be the case – he has everything to gain by getting the real version of what happened out in the public domain.
Having been in a similar role in my time as the SFA Chief Executive, I have to say the sequence of events was baffling.
How can you have a scenario in which the parties meet, consensus is apparently reached by all concerned – then just a few hours later, all hell breaks loose?
For Hearts and Aberdeen to respectively describe the initial move to play both semi-finals at Hampden in the one day as both “astonishing” and “appalling” was as startling as the plan itself.
When you are in a leadership role, you should absolutely make sure to plan ahead, so that the situation the SPFL found themselves in is avoided.
That obviously didn’t happen.
Let me give you an example to illustrate my point.
In 2008, I was offered the chance to bring Argentina to Hampden Park to play Scotland in a friendly.
This was at a time when Diego Maradona had just been appointed as their manager, and with Lionel Messi doing a star turn on the pitch there was no question it was going to be big box office.
Unfortunately, the Argentineans knew it too, and were looking for a serious appearance fee.
When we did the sums, it was clear we would have no option but to pass the extra cost on to the fans by charging an extra £10 or £15 a ticket.
It was obvious to me that news would provoke a lot of protest, and that the SFA stood to get slaughtered as a result.
For that reason, I decided to consult with the leaders of the Scotland supporters’ associations and canvas their opinions.
When the answer came back that they didn’t think it was a match worth paying a premium for, we went back to Argentina and said: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.
As it turned out, they did end up coming over – winning what was their first match under Maradona’s charge 1-0 – but that was only after they offered to take a much-reduced match fee.
There was a good reason for that. Barcelona managed to pull Messi out of the trip, reducing the fixture’s appeal by no small amount.
But the principle of forward-planning being paramount remains.
You get things sorted out between the people involved, reach a solution that everyone is okay with and then proceed.
What has made things worse for Neil Doncaster and the SPFL has been the perception that it would be easy to do a better job sorting things out.
We have known for weeks of the SPFL’s fear of an Old Firm fixture headache, and in this column last week I suggested they play one match at Hampden and the other one at Murrayfield on the same day.
That compromise has now been settled upon, yet still not everyone’s happy.
Common sense suggests there have been obstacles, security issues and petty politics that have made the SPFL’s job harder than it needed it to be.
It is now up to Neil Doncaster to tell us exactly what they were.