Even the most ardent Scotland rugby supporter will find it hard to make a case for the national team in the forthcoming Six Nations, which gets under way on February 1 with a tough test in Dublin against Ireland.
The Scots are still smarting after a disappointing World Cup in Japan where they failed to turn up, particularly in the opener against Ireland who were easy 27-3 winners.
The Irish went on to prove they were no world beaters, ending up second to surprise packets Japan in the pool.
The Irish then crashed out, losing 46-14 in the quarter-finals to New Zealand, but for all that, it is difficult to see the Scots winning in Dublin, given the strength of Ireland’s teams in the Pro 14 in contrast to the up-and-down form of Edinburgh and Glasgow in the same set-up.
Home games against England and France will also be testing, leaving Scotland with the possibility of a solitary win in the tournament in Italy, and even that is no gimme.
Poor performances in the European competitions only add to the concern, while the much-heralded Super Sixes have failed to make a mark in the domestic game, and with attendances at an all-time low in the sport in the national leagues, 2020 could prove to be a very difficult year for rugby in Scotland.
On the local scene, the only two Caledonian teams keeping their ends up are Highland in National League 1 – where after four promotions they are pushing for a top-two place – and, encouragingly for the game, are attracting big crowds to their state of the art ground at Canal Park.
Orkney are on a mission of their own in Caley Division 1 after their crushing relegation from National League 3, firmly on course for a league and National Shield double.
Aberdeen Grammar looked to be a team on the move after winning the National League Cup at Stirling in April, following hard on their promotion to the Premiership in which they made the best of starts, winning five of their first six starts, only to stumble to defeat in six out of seven games in the run-up to Christmas.
Gordonians, who were promoted from National League 3, have inexplicably struggled and go into 2020 having won only two of their 13 games in National League 2, six points adrift in the relegation area, and must start to win games at Countesswells if they are to avoid the drop.
In the Caley leagues, clubs have not been helped by player shortage, suggesting there are too many clubs in the area chasing too few players.
Most of all, they were subject to the strange decision to suspend games during the World Cup, leaving some clubs having only played six games over a period of four months, including some of the best weather enjoyed in September and October.
The stop-start season has in many cases led to clubs losing players.
But despite the apparent doom and gloom, the year ended on a high for those clubs who organised festive games over the break, including Banff, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Highland, Inverurie, Mackie, Orkney, and, of course, the traditional Aberdeen Exiles vs Aberdeen Select game at Rubislaw on Boxing Day.
This goes to prove the spirit of the game is still alive in the area, even if the game lacks sympathetic leadership at the top of the sport.