The Scottish Premiership must grab the chance to shine and maximise exposure when Europe’s major leagues are closed down for the summer.
Scotland’s top flight returns on Saturday just as the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga finish up.
There has been almost daily blanket broadcast of the top four leagues in Europe since football returned from the shutdown.
Scottish football can clean up while those leagues are on their summer break by delivering a strong, exciting product in the matches broadcast by Sky Sports as part of a new five-year deal.
The English Premier League does not restart until Saturday September 12, leaving Scottish football with essentially a six-week window which must be exploited.
The Champions League and Europa League will run in the opening weeks of August, with some weekend games, but it still represents a glorious opportunity.
Scottish football has been damaged by the financial impact of the pandemic and investment is desperately needed.
If the Premiership can impress and illustrate that it is a strong product in this window, it could be the catalyst for fresh investment.
There is no better game to kick-start the coverage of our game after four months in shutdown than Aberdeen against Rangers.
Although the encounter will be played behind closed doors, hopefully the lack of supporters will not lessen the edge of what is usually a passionate, exciting encounter.
There is no doubt it would likely have been a sell-out and the Red Army would have been a huge driving factor and inspiration to the Reds.
The lack of supporters will be alien and strange, but the Dons have played bounce games against St Johnstone and Hibs at the stadium to acclimatise to that. Aberdeen had a dry run last year when facing Chikhura Sachkhere in Georgia.
As Chikhura’s stadium did not meet Uefa regulations, the Europa League qualifier was switched to the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi.
With only a few hundred fans in attendance at the 50,000 capacity stadium, it was an eerie atmosphere and one of the most bizarre games I have ever attended. Aberdeen were able to overcome that and draw 1-1.
Saturday offers not just a chance for Scottish football to shine, but also for Aberdeen to lay down an early marker of intent for the season.
Bryson on scoresheet and off injury list
Hopefully midfielder Craig Bryson can remain injury-free in the upcoming season after a frustrating debut campaign.
Bryson joined the Dons last summer with an ankle injury that saw him miss the end of the 2018-19 season with Derby. He passed a stringent medical before joining the Reds.
After recovering from that ankle problem, he injured the other.
Bryson scored in the 1-1 friendly draw with Hibs and is ready for the new season.
Cove can focus on more glory now
Cove Rangers can now fully concentrate on preparing for life in League 1 as the fear of being denied promotion is over.
Despite romping to the League 2 title, Cove have been unable to fully enjoy their much deserved success – until now.
A three-man arbitration panel this week reached a unanimous decision to confirm the relegations of Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer.
Had the panel decided the other way, Cove, Dundee United and Raith could have had their promotions wiped out.
The case was heard in Edinburgh’s Court of Session before being referred to the Scottish FA for the arbitration process.
Following a rigorous examination with many witnesses and full access to relevant documents, records, emails and telephone logs, a decision was made on Monday to uphold the relegations.
Now all concerned parties must stick by it and move on.
Over the last few months there has been enough division, argument and chaos in Scottish football to last a lifetime.
It would have been shocking if Cove were denied their rightful place in League One due to a situation completely outwith their control.
However, I have sympathy for Hearts, Partick and Stranraer and still think a temporary two-season set-up of 14-10-10-10 could have worked.