IT'S SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST; Casualties in the Rush for Seats on Soccer's Lifeboat

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER JARDINE

FERGUS McCANN had barely stepped off a flight from Canada before he began warning anyone who would listen that 40 clubs was far too many for a nation with a five million population.

Now it seems the Third Lanark scenario is moving ever closer with the question being asked today in the small towns of Scottish football: What will happen to the rest?

Rangers vice-chairman Donald Findlay, juggling the issues of devolution and revolution yesterday, said: 'I think some small clubs will die inevitably. I have said for a long time, and I stress it is only my opinion, that it is crazy that junior clubs can attract bigger crowds than some of our lower division senior outfits.

'I think there must be change at that level and have a North/South or East/West arrangement or whatever that might mean with, perhaps, the likes of Pollok playing Clyde and so on.' How that will evolve remains to be seen.

Clubs such as Dundee, Falkirk, Airdrie, Partick Thistle, Raith and St Mirren now face a scramble for promotion with the prize greater than ever before.

For those who miss out, how will those in lower divisions be able to negotiate sponsorship and TV deals on their own?

Would the likes of STV still be prepared to run some kind of weekly highlights without any Old Firm action which for so long has been the cornerstone of virtually every programme? …