The problems that we’re having to face with the Covid pandemic and the new strains of the virus that are materialising are coming greatly to the fore in the sports world and in particular football. With only the two higher divisions in the professional game in Scotland being allowed to carry on as normal it shows that we’re facing major disruptions to our match schedules. I hope that the vaccination initiative brings about change and reduces the fear of an ongoing pandemic. Regardless of this, we are seeing the football world having to address matters because the government and scientific advice is altering on an ongoing basis.

If our football doesn’t get the green light to continue across the board at the beginning of March then we’ve got a major problem with scheduling. This becomes even more the case if the government also calls for the top two leagues to close down. There’s talk of a potential “null and void” being approved if this happens because 30 league games haven’t been played. I personally would not agree to this, especially if we have time left to fit the games in before August when the new season would begin. I think this should have been the case last season as many other countries came out of their football lockdowns to complete their seasons and resolve what each club was entitled to in terms of both finance and achievement.

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I would definitely say that if the current pandemic scenario does go on for longer than anticipated, we should still plan for the domestic season being restarted in order that the leagues can be completed to at least the 30-game mark. However, if this serious medical issue continues to be a major problem throughout Europe then I’m of the opinion that UEFA should suspend the Champions League and Europa League. In addition, I’d also consider it a mistake to hold the European Championships this June.

My reasoning for making these points is that, for health purposes, the travel to and engagement within foreign countries has to be curtailed. The domestic game has had problems with players proving positive from tests but overall they are much safer because they are at home and generally in the same environment as their team-mates. Going abroad greatly increases the risks and could be a major problem for the clubs, their players and their families. I’m sure most countries would be reluctant to have players and officials retuning from foreign visits with the curtailments that are currently widely in place across Europe.

It would be a shame to see the club European campaigns halted but if things turn around with the pandemic, then it might be possible to replicate last season by having the matches played in the summer months in neutral venues. This would obviously put these matches into competition with this summer’s international tournament but it also gives me another crucial reason for postponing Euro 2020. I know they were already cancelled last year but things haven’t really improved since then and you could even say they are now much worse. I think the tournament should be suspended until November/December when, hopefully, the situation will have greatly improved. With the potential of widespread vaccines having been administered, we can even see the return of spectators, able to enjoy the matches. With the World Cup scheduled for 2022 it might seem like we would be cramming too much football into a short space of time, but with the Qatar tournament scheduled for November/December, then we would still have a full year’s gap between tournaments. It’s up to UEFA now and I really hope they see sense and plan things for the benefit of all areas of the game.

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This weekend gives us a continuation of a very exciting League Cup campaign. With Celtic having been so dominant in all competitions for the last four years it certainly makes it exciting that we have a tournament that doesn’t even have them reaching the semi-finals.

St Mirren have had a special run this year by beating in-form Rangers and fourth-place Aberdeen. Because of these results they would normally be placed as favourites going into their semi-final. However, they’re not and it’s going to be very tough for them coming up against in-form Livingston. It’s a very hard one to predict but Livingston will be considered favourites and, despite the fact that St Mirren have beaten them twice in the league, I think they’ll make the final. Their opponents look most likely to be Hibernian. In fairness, though, the last time they met St Johnstone was in the league at Easter Rd, and it was a draw. I’m looking forward to both matches and it’s great to see an open competition not dominated by the Old Firm. Bring it on.