Difficult endings that leave new opportunities in their wake are intrinsically valuable.
Scottish football has been heading towards one of these difficult endings for quite some time now.
One of the main problems with Scottish football today is that it offers very little to appeal to audiences outside of Scotland. In fact, it could be argued that there are days when it offers very little to appeal to any audiences whatsoever. It has been that way for quite some time now.
The standard of our game has failed to develop and improve at the same rate experienced in most other European countries; even in countries smaller than Scotland. But at the moment, this is the least of our problems.
It is impossible to talk about Scottish football without talking about the bitter rivalry between Celtic and Rangers. And sadly, it is impossible to talk about that without getting involved in a discussion about generations of racial bigotry and sectarian hatred.
The long standing rivalry, and at times deeply troubled relationship between these clubs, and everything that is associated with them, tends to be captured by the badge, the ‘old firm’. It is a badge of dishonour. It tarnishes one with the dirty brush that touches up the other.
Not only does it refer to the commercial dominance of Celtic and Rangers in the Scottish game; it is also a complaint about the ugliness of their relationship as it is perceived by the majority of other supporters, and by other people not even remotely interested in football.
Whatever happens in Scottish football over the next few weeks, the outcome of the situation at Rangers Football Club will be a defining moment. Whether we care to admit it, or are ready to accept it, it will be the end of the game in its current format.
It will also be an opportunity to ensure that the ‘old firm’ badge of dishonour is no longer used by rendering it redundant; but that will only happen if Celtic and Rangers are no longer perceived to be inextricably linked for the wrong reasons.
Regardless how Celtic and Rangers supporters view it, the ‘old firm’ badge will only be removed when the sectarian hatred that has ruined Scottish football for generations is dissolved.
But that will only happen when the histories that define these clubs are either reconciled, or removed.