IN the ever-cynical world of Scottish football, there is a lingering suspicion that those sent to cover matches are merely fans with laptops. Or certainly a word that sounds like fans.

The accusation is that every journalist has a bias towards one side and it infiltrates every match report they write about them. And on top of that they really dislike your team as well. Don’t even hide it apparently.

Many press box patrons, of course, support a club. If you’ve decided to pursue sports journalism as a profession then there’s a decent chance it was because you grew up as a football obsessive. Certainly, very few of us are doing it for the money or job security.

Amid the maelstrom of a match, however, that very rarely has any influence. Especially when you’re at a midweek cup tie that’s gone to extra time and your deadline is fast approaching.

At that moment you are simply clattering away in a blur on the keyboard, looking up occasionally to make sure the game is still going on while wondering why your word count seems to be rising as slowly as a snail that smokes 60 a day out on a Sunday stroll.

To my shame, I can now confess to having worked at St Mirren games where I had to file my report on the whistle and hoping they wouldn’t score in the closing seconds to force the hastiest of rewrites. That’s all that goes through your head in these chaotic moments.

When a last-minute goal inevitably comes at a match the resultant volte-face can put years on already wizened football hacks. Never mind the players – it’s the reporters who often need to lie down in a darkened room after nights like that to let their heartbeat slow down again.

Scottish football, though, seems perversely drawn towards these episodes of draining last-second, made-it-just-in-time drama.

Tomorrow’s fixtures announcement will confirm the Premiership’s intention to return to action in just four weeks’ time. And yet there is still so much to be settled between now and then. It would not be a huge surprise if the SPFL and clubs were still finalising plans right up until the night before the big kick-off.

The new bumper TV contract with Sky Sports is behind the push for football to return in August but what our game will look like by then is anyone’s guess.

Most pressingly, there is the matter of Hearts and Partick Thistle’s legal case against their relegation at the end of last season, with Lord Clark ruling that it must now be presided over by the Scottish FA’s judicial panel and not in court.

The wheels of justice rarely turn quickly and this is an issue likely to drag on throughout July and perilously close to the start of the new season. Lord Clark outlined his expectation that it would all be wrapped up by August 1 but there can be no guarantees of that.

And what if Hearts and Thistle eventually win their case? They and Stranraer could have their demotion overturned and in a stroke deny Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers promotion. And all hell breaks loose at that point. Or they could win substantial financial compensation that will need to come out of the SPFL purse.

Even if they lose, there is the threat – perhaps unlikely – that the two clubs could be kicked out of the SPFL for their audacity. That’s a lot to be tied up and wrapped up nicely in a bow in under a month.

Then there is the matter of supporters attending matches. This is a ball that seems to be forever batted back and forward, with clubs on one side of the net and the government on the other. On one hand there has been chatter about a reduced number of fans being allowed into stadia from next month. Then there is the counter argument that it wouldn’t be safe before the winter. And then the riposte that maybe September might be viable. Nobody knows.

Granted, it is an incredibly fluid situation as the world tries to gradually exit from Covid-19 restrictions and it is not difficult to have sympathy for those involved. But clubs are still selling season tickets to fans who – only one month out from the start of the campaign – still have no idea just when they might actually get to sit in the seat they have spent hundreds of pounds on. Or, given social distancing guidelines, whether they will at all this year.

The balm that was to be applied to ease that frustration was the option of live streaming matches. Again, there is still nothing in concrete about just how that might work making it another aspect that will need to be concluded in a rush. Will it only be for season ticket holders? Can other fans watch on a pay-per-view basis? What about away fans? So much is still to be decided.

When the three lower divisions agreed to an October start with a reduced fixture list, they bought themselves a bit of much-needed breathing space. In contrast, the Premiership clubs are rushing towards an enforced August start in the same frenzied fashion as a reporter approaching deadline.

It is important to get football back. But this self-imposed late, late drama doesn’t help anyone at all.