ANYONE still wondering why SPFL clubs “won’t just do the right thing” when it comes to plotting out the future of the Scottish game need only revisit the morality tale that was Stephen and Sarah.

The pair met in 2008 on a short-lived ITV daytime quiz show called Goldenballs. Hosted by amiable Brummie comedian Jasper Carrot, it involved contestants working their way through three rounds to reach a “Split or Steal” head-to-dead denouement.

On the surface of it the show was just your typical tea-time telly fodder, something to keep people entertained while their fish and chips heated in the oven next door. Dig a little deeper, however, and it was much, much more that.

This was an often excruciating examination of mankind itself, a programme that peered deep into the souls of ordinary people to see how they would act when placed in certain situations. It pitted trusting others and working together for the greater good against lying, bluffing and cheating for individual gain. As a study of human behaviour, it was utterly compelling.

Stephen and Sarah both reached the final when they appeared on the show. There was £100,000 in the pot and both had to decide whether to plump for the golden ball that said Split or the one that said Steal.

If both went for Split, they would away with £50,000 each. If both went for Steal, they both ended up with nothing. But if one went for Split and the other Steal, then the Stealer would take all the cash.

Stephen had double crossed Sarah in the previous round but was full of contrition before the grand reveal. "Sarah, I can look you straight in the eye and tell you I am going to split. I promise.”

He looked a man of his word, happy to take home a life-changing £50,000. And, sure enough, he opened his golden ball to reveal the word Split.

And then came the sting in the tail. The younger, almost cherubic-looking Sarah had gone for Steal. As Bart Simpson gleefully highlights to sister Lisa after she had rejected the advances of the hapless Ralph Wiggum, you can actually pinpoint the second when Stephen’s heart rips in half.

He looks crushed, almost bamboozled by what has just transpired. Sarah looks briefly triumphant but then bites her lip as if a wave of shame has just washed over her. But once Jasper had wrapped things up and the final credits had rolled, there was an additional £100,000 in her bank account. That’s enough cash to salve even the guiltiest of consciences.

Such is life. People may start out with the best of intentions of doing what is right for the greater good but, come the crunch, self-interest will almost always come to the fore.

Look at Irvine Welsh’s famous 2015 call to arms for people to put their own selfish needs to one side to remember those less well-off at election time.

“When you're not doing so well, vote for a better life for yourself. If you are doing quite nicely, vote for a better life for others.”

In the subsequent five years, that Tweet has been liked 45,000 times and retweeted by 30,000 people. And yet the electorate – from the privacy of the voting booth - have repeatedly chosen to vote for a better life for themselves. And screw everyone else.

That is just human nature. And it is also why it is pointless to chastise clubs for not doing more to provide a workable solution to the farrago currently embroiling the SPFL as they try to provide a way forward in the post-coronavirus era.

There will be 42 chairmen and chief executives all eager to see Scottish football restored and able to return in the best possible health. But not if there is even the slightest chance any move would endanger their own club in the process.

It is not a huge coincidence that what each of them states confidently is “the best way forward for the game” to maintain sporting integrity also just so happens to chime with what is also best for their particular fiefdom.

Clubs want to be awarded league titles, spared from relegation, offered the chance of a play-off, or given the lifeline of league reconstruction as befits their own personal circumstances. They need to do so to appease supporters, give peace of mind to managers and players, and often just to ensure their club continues to exist at all. For them not to serve those masters first and foremost would be akin to an act of self-destruction.

The ham-fisted manner in which Friday’s incomplete vote was revealed – not unlike the tantalising cliff-hangers on Goldenballs – has now left Dundee in an unforeseen position of strength.

Having not rushed into a decision, their vote now stands between the SPFL’s resolution passing or falling. There will be a call from all sides for them to do what is right for the game as a whole – whatever that may be.

But Dundee will only do what is right for them. And few can blame them for that. We may want everyone to be more like Stephen. But, as life shows us time and time again, the more natural reaction is to be like Sarah.