Former Aberdeen defender David Winnie believes Hearts and Partick Thistle have nothing to lose by fighting their relegation.
The Jambos and the Jags have filed a petition with the Court of Session challenging their relegation due to the SPFL season being brought to an early end.
They have asked for promotion and relegation to be cancelled and are also seeking £10 million in compensation. Former Don Winnie, who also played briefly for the Jambos, rates the joint legal challenge as having a 50-50 chance of success.
Winnie, who is now head of sports law at a firm in London, said: “I can fully understand why they are going down this route.
“They have nothing to lose. The option of doing nothing means they would lose millions. Have they got a real chance? I would put it no more than 50-50.”
Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers, whose promotion would be denied despite being named champions of their respective divisions should the legal challenge succeed, have announced their intention to fight the petition from Hearts and Partick.
Hearts and Thistle, who have asked for an expedited hearing, have said they “reserve the right” to apply for an interim interdict to prevent the Premiership season starting while the SPFL has until tomorrow to respond. The court will either decree they have jurisdiction to adjudicate or will decide it is a matter for the SPFL and Winnie believes it is in the interest of all parties to decide this issue as quickly as possible.
Winnie said: “Listen, no one wants this dragging on to the end of August, September.
“Generally, in something of this nature, you could be looking at anything up to a year for it to rumble through the courts.
“But given the urgency, given the league is starting, they have asked for it to be expedited so it goes into a timetable with the court where it will be done in a speedy fashion
“All parties will want a swift resolution to this, so everyone will try to facilitate that.
“There might be a situation where they come to a settlement – on the steps of the court as it were – whereby the SPFL reaches a settlement with Hearts and Partick Thistle.
“For that to happen, they would need to get the agreement of the other 40 clubs. They have seven days in which they can accept the claim – which they are not going to do – or they can defend it.
“Once we get a response, the court will have a look at this, and they will either say we have the jurisdiction to look at this, or they will boot it back to the SPFL.
“The latter would waste time which the clubs – and the SPFL – don’t have.
“Hearts and Thistle want this fast-tracked.”