FAR be it for a newspaper that goes under the proud name of The Herald to question the modern-day relevance of heraldry. But query it we must after learning of a plight faced by many Scottish football clubs. Nearly two dozen of them may fall foul of laws governing heraldry, which date back to 1592, if their badges include traditional elements such as shields, lions, thistles or saltires. One club, Airdrie, has had to drop its historic badge after a rival fan complained to the rules' enforcer, the Court of the Lord Lyon. Ayr United has been given special dispensation to continue using its crest until next year, but then it must find a new badge. MSP Corri Wilson sought a review of the 1592 Act's restrictions on the granting of arms, but notes that the issue has been passed from pillar to post.

The problem is that framing a badge within a shield could be enough to break the rules. Crowns, the Lion Rampant, castle turret designs and the use of letters are also frowned upon.

It's possible to imagine that many clubs have bigger problems to ponder than badges and crests, but these things are, after all, part of their very identity. Without wishing to cast aspersions on the fine and upstanding characters of Lord Lyon King of Arms and his procurator fiscal, might we suggest that it's time some common sense was brought to bear? Should laws that were relevant in an era when Shakespeare was still alive be reasonably wielded in 2016? It does seem anachronistic, to put it mildly. One lawyer, a member of Airdrie's supporters trust, laments that such an ancient law is being used in a "brutal" way against community institutions. How many fans, he asks, are interested in heraldry? It's a good point. The world has moved on: perhaps Lord Lyon should, too.