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Sir Kenny Dalglish: The in-fighting has been unpleasant, is still a mess but is now totally toxic

© SNSKenny Dalglish
Kenny Dalglish

We’re almost two months into football’s lockdown and still we have no sense of direction from the SPFL.

The governing body’s hierarchy has been unable – or even incapable – of preventing bitter in-fighting to take over the Scottish game, with no end to the rancour in sight.

The biggest headlines have come from their war of words with Rangers.

This is something that may well have been festering since 2012, the year the Ibrox club was put down the leagues and told to start again.

That move really knocked Rangers for six, and it was four years before they made it back to the top flight.

The club has kicked on since, and has made big strides on and off the park, with the appointment of Steven Gerrard as manager being the most significant move of all.

But they still have a long way to go.

Neil Lennon’s Celtic are still out on front, having used that four-year period with no Old Firm league games to their advantage.

Sure, they lost out on guaranteed full houses from those games, and they lost out financially from a much-reduced television deal.

Many other clubs in Scottish football also suffered from seeing Rangers going down the divisions.

But Celtic won titles on the park, and surged towards the situation they are in today, on the verge of winning nine-in-a-row.

They have also made tens and tens of millions of pounds from being in the Champions League.

They have clearly also used that time wisely off the park and built relationships with many clubs around the country and beyond.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It goes on in football.

But what is going on in Scottish football is far wider than nine-in-a-row or an issue between Rangers and the SPFL, whether that be between Neil Doncaster and Douglas Park, or Stewart Robertson and his fellow SPFL board members.

Doncaster, and chairman Murdoch MacLennan, are now getting it from all angles in terms of their leadership and transparency.

The collapse of the SPFL League Reconstruction Group on Friday night has added a whole new flavour to the bad taste that’s been around for weeks.

During a period of such uncertainty amid the coronavirus, we should not be rushing into such important decisions before we know exactly where the Scottish game stands for the next period of anything between two and six months.

As a result, Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer will be relegated. Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts will now not be promoted.

Thistle, in particular, are incandescent with rage, and they have questioned if the league hierarchy is fit for purpose.

Stenhousemuir have voiced similar concerns. Falkirk are absolutely raging.

Put it all into the mix and it makes for an interesting day on Tuesday when the vote will take place, based on the Rangers dossier, as to whether there should be an independent inquiry into the running of the SPFL.

The 200-page Ibrox report may well have lacked something really explosive, but it raised matters that need to be addressed and looked at closely.

For this to be passed, it requires 75% of the SPFL clubs to vote in favour.

It is down to them to cast their vote, based both on the Rangers dossier and their own personal experiences.

That’s why I found it a bit strange that the SPFL should be so dismissive, so quickly, of the report.

Was it really their place to do that before the votes had been cast?

Overall, it has been extremely unpleasant. It is still a mess.

Indeed, it is totally toxic.

It all goes back to the SPFL and their resolution to call the season by that vote on April 10.

Some have said that this has caused the biggest rifts and in-fighting ever known in the Scottish game.

It’s hard to argue with that.

Again, going back to that Good Friday, did it really need to be rushed through?

And it’s totally unfair to relegate Hearts and Partick Thistle when it was so tight at the bottom of their respective league tables.

Will the Tynecastle club consider legal action, something that could rumble on for months and months, at great expense to all?

We will see what happens in the next few weeks and months. It could well be that clubs go to the wall by late July or early August, as Doncaster has warned.

That would be a crying shame.

Maybe some of the clubs with deep financial concerns could look at joining together as one club?

Yes, it would cause a lot of anger with many supporters of some clubs, and that should never be underestimated.

The size of a club doesn’t determine your enthusiasm for who you support.

That’s why the next few weeks and months are so important.