THE decision may not yet have been made, but for Tony Fitzpatrick, it is only a matter of time. The St Mirren legend and CEO says that this season is already over, and it is now time to make the most of the situation.

The ramifications on calling the season with eight rounds of fixtures still to play aren’t lost on Fitzpatrick. The thorny issues of the Premiership title, relegations and promotions all have to be resolved, but he believes it is time to look at the bigger picture.

Common sense, he says, would dictate that Celtic are awarded the title given their healthy lead at the top, while at the other end of the table, there exists an opportunity to reform the Scottish leagues for the greater good of the game in this country.

If it is not now that the Scottish game’s myriad stakeholders can step away from their narrow self-interest to work towards something that will benefit the whole, then when?

“This season is done,” Fitzpatrick said. “People don’t like it, but it’s done, so why not make the decision?

“I can understand how difficult it must be for the SPFL and the SFA, so I’m not criticising anybody, but I really think we need some clarity now. I know there is going to be consequences with those decisions, but I hope within the next week or so things are clearer.

“I know that everybody is saying we will pay the games, but it’s impossible I think if you are listening properly to what is going on.

“There’s been 30 games played, so I’m not in favour of making the season null and void, that would be criminal. But I think this is maybe an opportunity to try out something different.

“I’d like to see a 16-team Premiership, but even if it was just Dundee United and Inverness who came up, we do away with relegation and give Celtic the title, that would work for me.

“Rangers have been incredible in terms of where they came from to where they are now, but I think if we’re being honest you couldn’t see them catching Celtic. It’s more difficult I think to put teams down, so why not bring the two teams up?

“I would go further and make it 16 teams. I think a real revamp of Scottish football is needed, and why not take the opportunity to have a look at it?

“When you see what the likes of Barry Hearn did with darts and snooker, we need to have that creative thinking too to come up with a product that the big TV companies are going to pay top dollar for.

“This is our chance to do something special with the game, to try things.

“This is a hopefully a once in a lifetime event, who would have thought a virus would stop football completely all around the world in our lifetime? It’s a horrible thing to happen, and there are no words to express the impact it is having on people’s lives, and how much we wish this didn’t happen.

“All we can do is try to look at the positive side coming out of it, and what opportunities are there to really revamp things.

“We have to come together and think of the greater good, not just our own self-interest. I think that is what this whole situation is teaching us in general.”

St Mirren have yet to announce any plans to potentially cut wages or place staff on furlough to help them weather the financial fallout from the football shutdown, but Fitzpatrick admits they won’t be immune to the lack of income generated during this indefinite period of inactivity.

“We’re in a healthy financial position today, but how long can that be sustained?” he said.

“Let’s be honest, this is going to on for a good while. I hate to say it, but we’re like any other club, and if there is no income then its common sense you will have to look at things.

“We’re going to do our best to keep things the way they are for as long as possible, that’s all we can do.

“Bigger clubs with massive resources have already taken such steps, but let’s look on the positive side and hope we can hang in there.

“When you see clubs like Celtic and Rangers with their resources struggling to keep things the way they are, then you know it’s a serious situation.”

What has buoyed Fitzpatrick though and made him sure that St Mirren will survive is the way that the club’s fans have rallied for the cause.

“Our supporters have been a big help, and one of the things that really helped is that they weren’t pushing for refunds of season tickets,” he said.

“It’s been incredible. The St Mirren supporters have followed the club through thick and thin, and I know only too well how hard that has been for them at times!

“They have rallied round. The overwhelming thing has been how worried they have been about the club. We are all humbled by that, because they realise how much the club means to the community and we’re the same, the community means so much to us.

“All clubs are doing this, I’m not just singling out St Mirren, but I’ve been so proud along with the chairman, the directors and the manager, about how much everyone has gathered round.

“It has been a real community response and a fantastic effort from our supporters. They are desperate to help us.

“We’re a business as well, we’ve got to remember that. We employ people, and the work they do is incredible. It’s humbling at times.”