Monday was supposed to be D-Day for Scottish football.
Instead, the game is headed for a day in court.
Hearts and Partick Thistle have joined forces to take on the SPFL – and the lawyers have been called in.
The ominously worded statement with which Thistle announced their intention to embark upon a fully-funded, joint legal action with the Jam Tarts was suggestive of where things are headed.
“To those who think we should just move on and accept what’s been dished out to us, yesterday 26 clubs put themselves first. We have now been given the opportunity to do the same,” wrote Jags chief, Jacqui Low.
It was, in one sense, a demand for justice to be done where Thistle – and Hearts for that matter – see it as having been lacking up to now.
But it also read like a “screw you” – to the SPFL, its leadership and the clubs who did not indicate a willingness to vote for a reconstruction plan that would have spared them both relegation.
There is a desire for revenge now – and the gloves are almost certainly coming off.
SPFL sides have, for months, been urged from all sides to set aside self-interest.
By the time Monday rolled around, member clubs were effectively begged to “do no harm” by the Jags ahead of the indicative reconstruction vote that sealed their fate.
The message was ignored.
Make no mistake, the Jam Tarts, the Jags – and Stranraer for that matter – are within their rights to feel aggrieved by the way their fellow clubs chose to stamp on their fingers rather than offer a helping hand as they lost their grip on the League ladder.
They’re entitled to feel that a different decision could – and probably should – have been reached, and that the harm now visited upon them could have been mitigated had their competitors agreed to take even a small share of injury upon themselves.
In the end, self-interest won the day, and now it will be employed in the other direction, to fuel a legal battle against an SPFL hierarchy whom, if they don’t have their ducks in a row, should be concerned about their jobs.
Forget about respect and forget about the common good. Those ships have sailed.
This fight, having skirted the gutter for months, is about to don wigs and silks and plummet into the sewer.
After months of bluffing, bickering and backstabbing, it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, emerges unsullied.
It says everything about the darkness of the last few months that Dundee are pleased to have been handed an October start date.
Yes, it’s a light at the end of the tunnel – but the end of the tunnel is still 18 weeks away!
By the time the Dark Blues kick off their campaign – assuming everything goes to plan – they will have been out of action for seven months in total.
Quite rightly, James McPake has pointed out that his players, unless they have been unlucky enough to suffer a long-term injury, will never have experienced a lay-off like it before.
The challenge now for the Dee gaffer and his staff is to ensure that whenever the squad returns to training – most likely sometime in September – they can get them up to full speed quickly.
After all, that’s going to be a cast-iron requirement of a succesful, promotion-winning campaign.
With only 27 games in the calendar, there is going to be no room for error.
So maybe it’s just as well the Dee have plenty of time to plan their approach.
Dunfermline told Dundee United to put up or shut up over Kevin Nisbet.
The Tangerines response, in slapping in an offer for the Pars’ star striker, was unequivocal.
Whether United get their man remains up in the air, with bids from England almost certain to kill their chances.
But the Tangerines have nevertheless sent a message – they were serious about Nisbet in January, and they are serious about him now.