The owners, the chairmen, the men with the broadcasting power, the sponsors, the politicians, the big talkers, even the managers and players: who has the power to determine what happens next and what we think about our game?
Herald Sport has listed the 30 most influential figures in Scottish football.
No.30 JOHN FLEMING, SFA HEAD OF REFEREE DEVELOPMENT
Fleming replaced Hugh Dallas last March, so now it's his job to fight the fires which break out when managers and players fall out with referees. It has been a relatively quiet season without the Old Firm going at it, and Fleming is a less divisive figure than Dallas, but when Willie Collum or any other official hits the headlines, Fleming has to try to make peace. Liable to roll his eyes when Kenny Shiels says things such as: "I've been told the SFA are out to get me".
No.29 FRASER WISHART, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, PFA SCOTLAND
Wishart is the conduit between clubs and their players, which has the unfortunate consequence of meaning that he comes to prominence when players are in trouble because of an insolvency event or non-payment of wages. Wishart is sensible and diplomatic, no-one could accuse him of being a militant agitator. Yet in theory he can call a players' strike, and in the ongoing dispute with Rangers he has defended the right of some former players to take legal action.
No.28 STEVEN FLETCHER, SCOTLAND STRIKER
Unless you are inclined to play 4-6-0, he could become hugely important. With Euro 2016 qualifiers in mind, the most expensive player Scotland has produced is the great hope, the £14m man whose goals could take Scotland back to a major tournament. After a mutually destructive shared huff with Craig Levein, he is back in the national team and has an even bigger transfer in him yet.
No.27 STEPHEN HOUSE, CHIEF CONSTABLE, POLICE SCOTLAND
House is the top man at the new national police force. The police are watching crowd behaviour, are monitoring social media content, they dictate kick-off times, they shape whether fans can drink or stand at games: they are all over football. House was one of the architects of the Football Coordination Unit for Scotland, established to deal with trouble after the "Old Firm summit" of 2011. He used to control Strathclyde Police; now he has the whole country.
No.26 JOHN PARK, FOOTBALL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AT CELTIC
He is important to Celtic because, since his arrival in 2007, the club has signed the likes of Emilio Izaguirre, Biram Kayal, Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama, Adam Matthews, Fraser Forster, Mikael Lustig and Efe Ambrose, all previously unheralded players who could be sold on for a (in some cases vast) profit. Not all of them are necessarily "Park signings" but Celtic have discovered the alchemy of buying cheaply, getting the best from players, and ripening them for sale. It is all about scouting and player identification, and Park is the best in the business.
No.25 JAMES TRAYNOR, RANGERS DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
The voice of Rangers, and certain to keep getting louder. The media is reluctant and uncertain about how to react to Traynor since he crossed the Rubicon from mainstream journalism to Rangers' communications department, but he is now talking on behalf of Ibrox and that means his words – often outspoken, confrontational and challenging – have to be taken as such. Traynor's sense of devilment will ensure he grows as a twin mouth to go alongside Charles Green's. The pair of them don't do silence.
No.24 IAN LIVINGSTON, BT GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT CELTIC
BT Vision could emerge as an important name in Scottish football if they decide to extend their interest in buying live broadcasting rights. They are to launch a football-focused channel, having secured some of the rights (from ESPN) for 38 live Barclays Premier League games per season from 2013-14, paying £738m over three years. Might they be interested in buying into Scottish football too? If so, a key player will be chief executive Ian Livingston, who joined the Celtic board in 2009.
No.23 SIR ALEX FERGUSON, MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER
He influences little directly; indirectly he shapes every manager in Scottish football. Neil Lennon recently began talking regularly with him, becoming the latest in a long list of managers who turn to the master for advice. Ferguson is generous with his time and his insight. His working relationship with the Scottish Football Association means Darren Fletcher, the captain, rarely misses a Scotland game. His enduring presence and profile amount to a unique example of Scottish relevance at the very top of English and European football. When Fergie speaks about Scotland, the country pricks up its ears.
No.22 EWAN ANGUS, BBC SCOTLAND HEAD OF SPORT
For the past seven years Angus has been in charge of all Scottish football shown by BBC Scotland, not to mention the reporting of it on Radio Scotland and the BBC website. The volume of content, and its reach, is vast. Sky and ESPN may pump in the money but when clubs complained about "Trial by Sportscene" – because their players were being punished retrospectively after incidents were discussed on the flagship highlights programme – it showed the ongoing importance of the Beeb.
No.21 VINCENT LUNNY, SFA COMPLIANCE OFFICER
Scottish football's procurator fiscal. If a player or manager has done something wrong and the referee messed up, Lunny is the SFA's safety net, ready to swoop a few days later with one of his retrospective "notice of complaint" announcements. Often resented around football, which is partly why he is going on a tour of managers and coaches next month in order to convince them that he should not be mistaken for a Stasi secret policeman or the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Even so, he is never going to win any popularity contests.
No.20 DARREN FLETCHER, MANCHESTER UNITED AND SCOTLAND MIDFIELDER
The most influential Scottish player by miles. Intelligent, thoughtful, articulate: he is even more impressive off the park than he is on it. Fletcher is an inspirational, vital figure for any national manager because of his unquestionable commitment. If the man from Manchester United feels it is worth turning up for a humdrum friendly, everyone else should be there too. The next manager, whoever it is, will idolise and rely on him.
No.19 GEORGE YULE, EXECUTIVE VICE-CHAIRMAN ABERDEEN
Stewart Milne remains the money and the foundation behind Aberdeen but he has delegated its stewardship to the restless, driven businessman who joined the board last summer. Yule was a fan who had become disillusioned. "I couldn't watch the team any more," he has said. "I was of the opinion it was a tired, sleepy kind of club which appeared to be going nowhere fast." The plan is for him to be the engine behind its growth and emergence.
No.18 CAMPBELL OGILVIE, SFA PRESIDENT
An instinctively diplomatic and conciliatory figure, almost pathologically opposed to conflict, yet his role is loaded with importance given its incumbent can fire a Scotland manager (or an SFA chief executive). Ogilvie's tenure has been undermined by controversy over his use of, and alleged knowledge of, Employee Benefit Trusts while at Rangers. The result of the "big tax case" has empowered him but will he seek re-election this summer?
No.17 DERMOT DESMOND, MAJORITY SHAREHOLDER CELTIC
When there has been criticism at recent agms – some fans are unconvinced by the extent of his commitment – Peter Lawwell responds by stressing that the seventh richest man in Ireland has put more than £20m into Celtic since 1995. It is said he speaks weekly to Neil Lennon, and more frequently to Lawwell. He remains withdrawn, though, uninterested in the Scottish game beyond Celtic. Otherwise he would be higher on this list. Supposedly worth £1bn, give or take.
No.16 ANDREW HORNETT, ESPN SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
ESPN's ongoing commitment to its £4m-a-year deal for 30 games per season, including 10 Rangers matches, has been questioned. ESPN signed a joint deal with Sky Sports, but last summer they lost the rights to Barclays Premier League games, which could influence their thinking on football in general. Hornett has also been linked with a move to American broadcasters but his attitude to Scottish football will be key. Had 10 years with Sky Sports (he created the "Soccer Saturday" results programme) before two at Setanta and then a move to ESPN in 2009. Goes by the nickname "Buzz", naturally enough.
No.15 ROD PETRIE, HIBERNIAN CHAIRMAN
Petrie has been on the Hibernian board since 1996 and has latterly been synonymous with the hiring and firing of umpteen managers, but his significance extends far beyond Easter Road. He is a member of both the full SFA board and also the recently-established Professional Game Board, which is facilitating the current talks on league reconstruction. Petrie says as little as he can get away with in public, yet his voice carries real power within the corridors and board rooms of Hampden. Known to be a tough, uncompromising negotiator.
No.14 VLADIMIR ROMANOV, MAJORITY SHARHOLDER AT HEARTS
He holds the fate of Hearts in his hands. Has spent millions without having a great deal to show for it, certainly when compared to the boasts that once poured out of him. Romanov's controversial outbursts gradually lost their novelty, but more importantly Hearts' financial position has darkened under him. The Russian-born Lithuanian now seems to run a club reliant on periodic handouts from its own beleaguered supporters. He has said he would sell, but at what price? The prospect of administration and even liquidation hang heavily over Tynecastle.
No.13 MARK WOTTE, SFA PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR
The Dutchman is shaping the future of Scottish football, importing the ideals and values that have underpinned the game in his homeland and focusing on a 4-3-3 model based on high technical skills and ball retention. Wotte's remit is development – and regional centres are being established – but the initiative will only work if there is a pathway up the national team age ranks. In short, the new Scotland manager will need to be prepared to work with Wotte, because his role is independent of the senior team's results, but still integral to them. Can be outspoken, and once remarked Scotland could, in theory, be good enough to reach a World Cup final in 10 years.
No.12 ALLY McCOIST, RANGERS MANAGER
Even though they speak on a regular basis, the remarks of the Old Firm managers are always newsworthy. McCoist was front and centre amid Rangers' crisis, and seemed to be holding the club together at times. He is witty and good-natured, but capable of being uncompromising, pointed and deadly serious, particularly when defending his club. The narrative of Rangers' return to the top-flight will continue to dominate. Failure would lead to his departure, but a successful Rangers provides a large chunk of Scottish football's fans and viewers.
No.11 HECTOR, HER MAJESTY'S REVENUE & CUSTOMS
Took a hard-nosed stance with Rangers by rejecting the Company Voluntary Arrangement proposal last year, sending Rangers Football Club plc into liquidation. Legitimate questions are being asked about leaked information to administrators Duff & Phelps during the insolvency proceedings that a CVA might be achievable, but the tax man has no intention of relenting when it comes to football. Hearts have been subject of winding up orders, while Dunfermline Athletic had to pay £50,000 by a deadline of last November. As clubs continue to manage their meagre finances, the revenue could become increasingly influential.
No.10 ALEX SALMOND, FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND
Politicians don't tend to wade into the tribalism of domestic football as there are few votes to be gained. Old Firm fans are united, though, in their disdain for the offensive behaviour in football bill and voice it with anti-SNP chants at every game. Salmond convened a summit when Old Firm tensions spilled over two years ago, so his interventions are usually significant, but manipulative. Analysis has yet to be carried out on how independence might impact our game, if at all.
Hearts fan with an eye for exploiting a photocall or agenda.
No.9 MICHEL PLATINI, UEFA PRESIDENT
Makes sporadic pronouncements about Scottish football, and the Old Firm hang on every word. Celtic would have been irked at his remark that: "If we look at the Champions League draw, it's clear that Juventus are already through to the quarter-finals," but UEFA's attitude towards cross-border competitions is critical to both Glasgow sides' hopes of moving to a lucrative environment. More pre-disposed to the possibility of that happening than his predecessors.
Suave, worldly, with an air of disinterest.
No.8 GORDON STRACHAN, SCOTLAND MANAGER
Nothing unites the nation's football fans like the fortunes of the international side. It is a high-profile, pressurised and often thankless task. Strachan starts at such a disadvantage that qualifying for the 2014 World Cup is already highly unlikely. The fans' mood tends to reflect how Scotland are performing, so he needs to be part-psychologist, part-football coach. He is a good coach and can be charming company. But he can also be spiky so his reign is likely to be dramatic.
Fall guy who could be a national hero.
No.7 NEIL DONCASTER, SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE CHIEF EXECUTIVE
In theory he runs the top-flight, in practice the position is more about managing the demands of member clubs than critical decisions. With reconstruction proposals including a merger between SPL and SFL, there is no guarantee he will keep his job. It is a thankless task, and he has coped by adopting a bland persona. But when an SPL commission rules this month on whether Rangers' use of EBTs is punishable by stripping titles, he will enter a storm.
Master of corporate platitudes, scourge of headline writers.
No.6 DAVID LONGMUIR, SCOTTISH FOOTBALL LEAGUE CHIEF EXECUTIVE
His reputation was not as tarnished as those of Stewart Regan and Neil Doncaster during the tortured negotiations over Rangers' fate last summer. Indeed, if he plays the next few months right, he could emerge as a powerful figure in the new, merged league body. Generally considered a shrewd administrator, politicking might not come so readily to Longmuir, but then that kind of straightforward approach might be better for the game at a traumatic time. Surefooted steps need to be taken, although the profile and budgets of the SFL are of a smaller magnitude to the combined worth of the proposed new league. Must thrive, or he will not survive.
Competent and quietly effective, but ready for the spotlight?
No.5 NEIL LENNON, CELTIC MANAGER
In the context of the Old Firm, Lennon and his counterpart, Ally McCoist, are titans. Thousands hang on to their every word, but the rivalry is an abstract right now, with Rangers in the third division, although Lennon is not beyond the occasional curt remark about the Ibrox side.
In the meantime, Lennon has been raising the profile of himself and his club. Celtic's exploits in the Champions League, most notably defeating Barcelona at Celtic Park, brought recognition from across the continent, and Lennon has been prominent in interviews with English-based newspapers and radio stations. Even Sir Alex Ferguson took time out to compliment the Celtic manager. His stock has never been higher.
No.4 BARNEY FRANCIS, SKY SPORTS MANAGING DIRECTOR
Sky are the Scottish Premier League's major broadcast partner, and the income from television rights represents the majority of every club in the division's budget apart from Celtic, as well as contributing to the parachute payment to the Scottish Football League.
The current deal is reportedly worth £80m across five years, although rumours persist about a clause based on viewing figures allowing renegotiation at the end of this season. Sky are pivotal to the game's future, because of the way the money is distributed, and their main interest is in the Old Firm games, which dwarf the rest of Scottish football's viewing figures. The sooner Rangers are back in the top-flight, the better as far as Sky are concerned.
Has Scottish football at his mercy.
No.3 STEWART REGAN, SCOTTISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION CHIEF EXECUTIVE
The SFA are the ultimate power brokers of the Scottish game, and although there is an executive board, Regan is at the forefront of the organisation. Initially, he was a dynamic figure, sweeping aside the old committee systems to implement a modernised, streamlined organisation. But he was less surefooted in dealing with the Rangers crisis last summer and, by riling a large number of member clubs, he undermined his own authority.
He has not fully recovered from that experience, and now the league reconstruction debate is moving into a critical phase. The SFA are mediating the discussions between SPL and SFL clubs, keeping Regan at the centre of the process. Has now replaced an unpopular Scotland manager with – for now – a popular one.
Like any other SFA chief executive . . . hoping for a slow, lingering reign.
No.2 CHARLES GREEN, RANGERS CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Rangers are in resurgence, with higher average crowds and more television viewers for their games than any other Scottish side, as well as significant funds to spend following last year's share issue. But Green is also blunt, forthright and often impetuous in his public statements. The more understated and experienced Walter Smith is now a non-executive director at Ibrox, but will Green listen to his advice?
Supporters rallied to Green's no-nonsense style and willingness to stand up to the authorities, although now is the time for quieter and more subtle diplomacy and politicking, qualities that he has not yet seemed inclined to deploy. He marshals the Rangers support, though, so is one of the two most powerful figures in the game.
Charismatic Yorkshireman. Prepared to be Lancastrian if the money's right.
No.1 PETER LAWWELL, CELTIC CHIEF EXECUTIVE
Many in Scottish football, only half-jokingly, refer to Lawwell as the man who controls the game. That amount of influence is overstating his reach, but it is undoubted that he is an all-powerful figure. Like Charles Green, he is at the head of an organisation with a vast fanbase, which provides Celtic with its authority but, unlike Green, the Parkhead chief executive is well-versed in Scottish football politics. He played a significant role in salvaging crucial TV income for the SPL after Rangers’ financial collapse. He sits on the SFA’s professional game board, while his Celtic colleague and ally, the finance director Eric Riley, sits on the SPL board. He has presided over a time in which Celtic have balanced their finances and remained successful, building strong foundations for the club’s future. Rangers will eventually return, and the dynamic of his relationship with the club’s new owners will be fascinating. Even after league reconstruction, Lawwell will still be a commanding presence.
Has it all running like clockwork.