There has been a general welcome across Scottish rugby for the two new senior lay office bearers in the Scottish Rugby Union.

Having served his two years as Vice-President, Ian Barr will take over from Dee Bradbury – we sincerely hope she is well on the way to a full recovery from her heart attack – as President of the SRU, with Colin Rigby elected vice president by a majority of 15, beating Keith Wallace of Haddington 112-97. He , too, will serve two years before succeeding Barr, and yes, I think that is a good system because it gives the Prez the chance to learn the job as V-P before the big step up.

Barr, a farmer, is the first ever President to be elected from Lasswade rugby club, and having played against the Midlothian club I know they are well run and a model of a community club. Colin Rigby of Stewart’s Melville is also a man steeped in club rugby and I am sure the pairing of Barr and Rigby will be good for the sport in Scotland at grassroots level. They will make sure that the players and people who toil in the basement and lower ranks of Scottish rugby will not be forgotten. Ad if they do, I know plenty of people like myself who will remind them.

For instance, we have only had a half or less of an AGM and the second half to be held after the Scottish Government allows it will be both hugely informative – we’ll finally discover just how bad the financial situation has become – and possibly divisive as various sectors fight for their share of a diminished cake. That’s where Barr must make a difference, by fomenting unity across Scottish rugby. He and Rigby can do that as club people.

They are going to have to be very good, very diplomatic and innovative, because Scottish rugby is deep in crisis and I do not see any speedy recovery from this damned pandemic which I’ve christened the panicdemic because more and more we are seeing people across the globe taking fright and either failing to cope or giving up in the face of coronavirus.

Then we see the idiots going in the opposite direction by ignoring the good sensible steps we must all take to get life back to some sort of normality, even if it’s all new.

Scottish rugby has already taken a huge financial hit and I suppose the temptation for Barr, Rigby, the Board and Council of the SRU is just to fling the jotters at chief executive Mark Dodson, chief operating officer Dominic MacKay and their crew and let them sort out the massive problems facing the game here.

That would be very, very wrong, because while I actually have faith in Dodson and MacKay to manage this crisis, they must not be let loose to cut and crop where they want. It is glaringly obvious that Murrayfield’s leaders would preserve the National team and Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors first and foremost, and frankly that is what they may have to do. Like any other business at this time, the SRU must do what it can to preserve the jobs of its employees and I am sorry but I cannot see anything other than a number of redundancies coming down the way.

What Barr and Rigby and the Council must do is to fight for ordinary clubs to get some share of whatever is left. That’s where innovation comes in, and maybe the new President and Vice-President should push for an ad hoc committee to consider any and every idea that could keep the grassroots growing, or at the very least still above ground.

I liked Barr’s tone in his first statements after taking on the Presidency. He was open and candid about the re-start date for the majority of clubs, supposedly October 31.

As he said: “The 31st October, when it was announced, we were supposed to be in Phase 4 (of the Scottish Government’s route-map for the easing of lockdown]), but we’re still in what we class as Phase 3.

“So, will it happen on 31st October? I think we’ve all got our fingers crossed for that but I think the realisation is there that while we target for that date, it could disappear as we get closer to it.

“We’ve all seen what has happened in New Zealand this weekend, from full houses to no spectators and a game cancelled because of lockdown. So, we know how fragile the situation is globally, but be reassured there are a lot of people working very hard to try to make the best out of this situation.”

Barr will have to be equally transparent about every step along the way from now on, especially about the governance issues he has promised to tackle, but I think he’s made a good start and I’m backing him to make a difference.