NO Scottish football players have been drug tested this season, with a mere 28 tests conducted over an 18 month period.

By contrast England's Football Association has carried out more than 1000 tests in the current season and 3421 over a year-and-a-half.

There are 92 clubs in the four English leagues and 42 in Scotland’s four. If the Scottish Football Association organised testing to the same rigour as south of the border then more than 400 tests would have been carried out already this season.

UK Anti-Doping, the agency which conducts the tests and compiles the data, is funded by the UK government and in England by the FA which pays more than £7 million a year for the testing programme. The SFA, however, does not contribute.

A spokesperson for the testing agency said: “The SFA don’t put any money into testing which is why the numbers of tests are so low.”

Asked if the dearth of testing in Scotland seemed shocking the spokesperson agreed, adding: “We have limited resources and we have to put them into where we see the biggest problems and the biggest risks.”

It is up to individual sports to decide if drug testing is important to them.

“Is it important?” Ukad chief executive Nicole Sapstead said last year in a dig which could have been aimed at the SFA. “If it is then put your hand in your pocket and start paying towards your programme.”

The few Scottish tests performed were purely in domestic matches and the figures exclude any of those which may have been performed in Scottish international matches, or on teams in Uefa club competitions, like Celtic.

According to the latest figures even rugby in Scotland carried out more drug tests than football, with 56 tests in the three months from July 1 to September 30 last year. Wheelchair rugby alone carried out 10 in that same period.

But not only do other sports test more frequently, almost all also test out of competition and out of hours. That does not happen in Scotland. Twice as many tests are conducted on English footballers out of competition as in, more than 600 out of a total of 988 over the latest six-month period.

Clubs in England must also let the FA know by 10am on Monday the days each player will be training in the week, start and finish times, the home address and any address they regularly stay over overnight. This is not the case in Scotland.

"We recommend out of competition testing," said the Ukad spokesperson "because that's when athletes are more likely to think they can get away with it."

Manchester City are now in trouble with the FA for for failing to provide anti-doping officials with accurate information about player whereabouts three times over a 12-month period.

In 2011 Manchester City player Kolo Toure, now at Celtic, failed a drug test and was given a six-month ban. He claimed to have taken his wife's slimming tablets.

Then in 2014 the then Partick Thistle player Jordan McMillan was banned for two years after he tested positively for cocaine. He is now able to play again.

The SFA have in the past argued that Scottish football is clean and have also have cited the difference in income between theirs – around £33 million – and the FA's which is more than £300 million, as the reason for the paucity of testing.

However last night a spokesman for the SFA accepted that a new and more regular regimen was required, revealing that a new testing programme would be launched shortly.

"The current anti-doping procedures from Ukad are intelligence-led," he said. "Nonetheless we have agreed to fund additional tests for the remainder of the season and are in in final discussion with Ukad on the matter."

It has not yet been decided if out of competition testing will be part of the new system and how regularly players will face a Ukad test.