Hibernian boss Jack Ross has leapt to the defence of Hampden chiefs Ian Maxwell and Neil Doncaster over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Scottish Football Association chief executive Maxwell and his Scottish Professional Football League counterpart Doncaster have both come under fire for the time taken to respond to the pandemic.
As late as Thursday night the governing bodies were insisting this weekend’s full card of fixtures – including the Old Firm derby in front of a 50,000-strong Ibrox crowd on Sunday – would go ahead as planned.
But news of a spate of high-profile figures testing positive for the virus – including Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta – sparked a rethink the following day as fans and pundits voiced their disbelief.
But Hibs manager Ross reckons the Hampden duo were doing their best amid testing circumstances.
He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound programme: “I know other sports maybe made their decision earlier but football is such an important part of everyday life in the UK.
“Sometimes that makes decisions a little bit more difficult compared to other sports.
“But I don’t think we were that far behind other sports.
“Whatever decision is made regarding the Scottish football season and the consequences of it, we shouldn’t be finger pointing and apportioning blame to those in positions of leadership like Ian and Neil.
“I know over recent years they’ve both had criticism – or their predecessors have – and the opinion of whether that is right or wrong is out there.
“But in this situation the decisions they have to take won’t be easy ones. It will be done with the best interests of the general public in mind.”
Ross has brought forward a week time off that he planned to give his team over the international break.
The Hibs squad will now report back for duty a week on Monday but what happens next across Scottish football is set to provoke major debate.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon has already called for his side – currently 13 points clear at the top – to be handed the Ladbrokes Premiership title if the season is called off.
Ross admits he can see no way in which the campaign will be concluded by the scheduled final day on May 17 – and he is not interested in entering the row about how the final outcomes are decided.
He said: “My gut feeling is that it will be very difficult to fulfil the remaining fixtures in the time frame to the end of the current season. It will be nigh-on impossible if you look at the way the advice is going for what we need to do as a society to control this virus.
“How we manage the fall out of that will not be easy. There will be some people unhappy with the choices made but I think it is a time for taking a step back and realising it is of secondary importance.
“I don’t really know what the best answer is. I don’t have a strong opinion because I’ve tried to step back and take a broader view. I know that sometimes there are things which are more important.
“People might say I’m sitting on the fence because we’re sixth in the table. But we’ve still got a Scottish Cup semi-final and have an outside chance of finishing in a European position, so there is a lot selfishly for us to play for.
“But I don’t have a strong opinion because whatever decision is made, some people will be unhappy.
“It’s very much unprecedented circumstances and ones I hope we never end up in again.”