The Scottish Premiership has paused for its lengthy mid-season breather, and the break, imposed by the ridiculous staging of the World Cup Finals, has come at a good time for a number of top-flight clubs.
I get the sense it will also be welcomed by the Scottish FA and SPFL, and at Clydesdale House – the home of our VAR operations centre.
The three weeks of video analysis and decision making have been fraught with difficulties, and have produced a number of baffling conclusions.
Far from removing controversy, discussion, and debate from the game, VAR has generated even more of it, and all too often has left most observers and supporters shaking their heads in disbelief.
It would be unfair to brand it a shambles at this early stage, but it feels as if it’s heading that way, and everyone involved is going to have to regroup over the next month in a bid to get things right.
As someone who welcomed its introduction, I have since found myself almost relieved that we do not have VAR in the Championship, where I have been attending Cove Rangers games this season.
It would almost certainly have produced at least three penalties in our game last week against Arbroath, but while that might well have benefitted us, it just wouldn’t be worth the chaos that has surrounded the system during its short-lived life.
I await its return next month with interest, and in the hope that its many flaws will have been ironed out.
Celtic look unstoppable, two Saints and Livi going well, while Aberdeen have work to do after reasonable start
As for the clubs, Celtic look unstoppable having so far won 14 of their 15 matches, and there has been nothing to suggest they will let up after the league resumes.
Livingston and St Mirren are two others who have reason to be highly satisfied by the opening to their campaigns, and there will be relief in Perth that, after last season’s travails, St Johnstone now look more like their old selves.
The Dons went into the break in third place, an acceptable showing, but there is still plenty work to be done.
The home form has been almost impeccable, and as an attacking force, they have, at times, been a joy to watch.
But away from Pittodrie they have been shaky, have lost five out of eight, and have taken a few hammerings. They currently sit eighth in the “away” league table, something which is going to have to be bettered significantly.
Over the piece, and having had to integrate so many new signings – most of whom have done pretty well – it has been an improved showing on recent years, but they will have to be better if they are to maintain their current position, tucked in just behind the big two.
Without the distraction of Europe, and with their injury crisis clearing up, Hearts can be expected to challenge the Dons.
Rangers, Hibs have struggled – while relegation battle looks set to be Premiership’s most compelling race
Rangers have had the worst campaign of all in the Premiership, and Hibernian have flattered to deceive. Both clubs will be looking for a much-improved campaign upon the resumption of play.
The likelihood is that the current bottom four will not change, but if Kilmarnock and Dundee United can find more consistency, their positions might well do.
The relegation battle could yet provide the most compelling chapter of this season.
Fitting this World Cup will start with what looks like a drab fixture
At 4pm on Sunday, the least eagerly-anticipated World Cup Finals of my life will kick-off at the Al-Bayt Stadium.
It is probably fitting it will do so with a fixture which hardly sets the pulses racing – hosts Qatar taking on Ecuador.
There will be three matches on Monday, then the daily format will be implemented throughout the first two rounds in the groups, with matches at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm (all GMT).
Viewing most of those will be out of the question for a large majority of football fans.
There are so many reasons why this World Cup should not be happening, quite apart from the ethical and moral issues thrown up by awarding Qatar the tournament.
Inevitably, as the knockout stages loom large, I will be drawn into it, but at this stage I’m really not feeling it.
In any case, the Championship continues throughout, and I am far more excited by that right now.