Ah, that well-meaning sentiment which sometimes carries a subtle whiff of patronisation.

Yes, it's time for your periodic reminder that in the absence of top-flight action, it remains business as usual for the rest of Scottish football - also known as 'the vast majority'.

The Premiership winter break arrives a little earlier this year, with sole thanks to that thing happening that you may have heard about, the one I'll get to shortly.

It's a date in the calendar that must provoke a bemused chuckle at clubs up and down the country.

'Lads, they've remembered we exist again', they laugh, probably in response to slightly hypocritical columns such as this one.

And like the avid gym goer frostily side-eyeing the New Year's resolutioners; or the avid pint drinker bristling into a Best as pubs fill with the Christmas party part-timers, there may even be a hint of resentment on terraces as they greet unfamiliar faces with the knowledge that 'you definitely will not be here in January'.

Understandably, such considerations make it difficult to promote a message of 'get out and support the rest of the pyramid' without coming off at least a little condescending.

But I'm going to give it a go anyway.

That thing I mentioned earlier was, of course, the Qatar World Cup.

Much sharper minds than I have perfectly dismantled everything wrong with FIFA choosing to turn the world's foremost sporting event into a circus built upon grotesque human rights abuses, set against a backdrop of archaic, discriminatory laws to which the game's governing body is content to turn a blind eye.

Actually, that's a bit unfair. They've rustled up some captain's armbands with suspiciously vague slogans about football uniting the world.

Thanks, Gianni. Some effort pal, honestly.

But if that's still not enough to remove the stench from your nostrils, there's plenty of football on your doorstep which might just provide a refreshing alternative to what's about to unfold on TV screens these next few weeks.

Now, I must stress that in no way I am encouraging an early rise to see this intrepid reporter bumbling around the Saturday morning amateur scene.

There's so much to enjoy on pitches around Scotland but there are some things I could not with a clear conscience foist upon our readers.

Thankfully, there's more than enough football going around to ensure it doesn't come to that.

While some of us wonder however the world will cope without a Premiership title race that appears to have lasted all the way until *checks notes* November 12, the Championship is again cementing its reputation as perhaps the most unpredictable league there is.

Not only are there six teams within six points of top spot, it's who is riding high which is provoking the most intrigue.

Ayr United have not played in the top-flight since 1977, while Greenock Morton have been absent since 1988.

Two teams with a combined 79 years away from the upper echelons of the game, threatening to mount a charge for the title. Whether that can be sustained into the back half of the campaign remains to be seen, but part-time Arbroath coming within a play-off of reaching the Premiership last season shows anything is possible.

Seven teams in League One will currently feel promotion is conceivably within reach, while arguably the greatest drama in League Two these days is in which teams will drop out.

The Lowland League has had its critics since the addition of Celtic, Rangers and Hearts' B teams but it's the previously unfancied University of Stirling making the biggest splash so far this term.

Sitting second behind a Rangers Colts side who cannot be promoted essentially puts them out in front to become the first University team to play in the SPFL, albeit with a long way to go.

They'll also be among the teams competing in a fascinating Scottish Cup third round this coming Saturday.

Among the highlights are the West of Scotland League's Drumchapel United, competing in the competition for the first time, vying for a fourth round berth against potentially Premiership opposition, while Open Goal Broomhill face Alloa Athletic, Wick Academy host Falkirk and Hamilton Accies welcome East Kilbride in an enticing Lanarkshire derby.

The following week, there's the Junior Cup third round and the small matter of old Ayrshire foes Cumnock and Auchinleck Talbot doing battle in front of what will certainly be a sizeable crowd.

I've no doubt missed something unmissable here - there is simply too much football to encompass it all within these column inches.

There's also the depressing fact that many of these clubs could do with this support now, more than ever.

They will have emerged from crippling Covid-19 restrictions in search, and in hope, of a period of financial recovery, only to be saddled with a cost of living crisis that could incur even greater devastation.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, clubs were, to an extent, covered by the furlough scheme and a Scottish Government grant worth £11.35m.

There has been no such safety net this time.

The impact of this crisis on families makes you reticent to tub thump about supporting your local football team when, for many, just putting food on the table is a serious challenge.

But if you can afford a day out to the game and are craving a football fix that doesn't feel morally questionable, there's probably one waiting on you just down the road.