THE positive Covid-19 tests at Kilmarnock which have forced the postponement of today’s Scottish Building Society SWPL2 opener against St Johnstone are an indication of how perilous the season ahead is likely to be.

The Ayrshire club, having learned of a third player testing positive on Friday, and with several more self-isolating, now have worries about next Sunday’s home game against Hamilton.

If they do apply for a postponement a decision will again be made by the League Management Committee – the general principle being that a side need to have 13 fit available players before a game can proceed.

There will inevitably be further disruptions, but the hope must be that the first SWPL winter season since 2008-09 can be played to its conclusion. If necessary, the League Cup – which is scheduled to take place in May – will be shelved to cater for postponements.

On a more optimistic note, and providing it can proceed reasonably smoothly, the season is filled with huge promise.

Glasgow City midfielder Leanne Crichton, who could win her 70th Scotland cap in the upcoming double-header against Albania and Finland, commented: “I’ve said for a number of years this is the place the women’s game in Scotland needs to get to. The teams around us have recruited really well.”

Crichton’s side play Celtic in BBC Alba’s televised game at Broadwood today. With BBC Scotland also streaming Hibernian’s earlier game against Spartans, plus Forfar and Hamilton providing coverage of their home matches, there will be plenty of football for fans to enjoy despite the spectator bans.

Celtic head coach Fran Alonso spent the lockdown months looking at detailed footage of other teams provided by one of the club’s video analysts. The Spaniard says he now has a much firmer grasp of the challenge which lies ahead and believes, on the basis of what he has seen, that Glasgow City are the title favourites.

“At the beginning of the season it would be unfair and disrespectful to Glasgow City to say us or Rangers are the favourites,” said Alonso, who has been accepted for the latest Uefa Pro Licence course. “They have won every single league for 13 years – their players all have Champions League experience and other ones are internationalists.”

While Hibs can’t be written out of the script, their squad has nowhere near the depth of the other three title contenders. Celtic, City and Rangers have different strengths, but a potentially huge swing will come later in the year when Sam Kerr, Rachel McLauchlan and Kirsty Howat leave the champions to join Rangers on pre-contract deals.

Forfar, who have been recruiting imaginatively, Motherwell and Spartans all look to have solid sides who will be hard to beat, but Hearts, who are at Rangers today, appear vulnerable. New head coach Andy Kirk is testing his feet in women’s football and some key players have left.

The Edinburgh club look likely, at this stage, to be the beneficiaries of there being no relegation from the top flight this season.

From a playing perspective, the only downside to the campaign is that the element of competitive edge provided by one or more teams fighting for their top tier survival will be missing.

THE draw for the first qualifying round of the 2020-21 Champions League will be made in Nyon on Thursday. Glasgow City, who missed out on a bye into the last 32 by the narrowest of margins, are ranked highest of the 40 clubs hoping to win one of the 10 qualifying places.

Because of the pandemic the usual four-team qualifying group format has been ditched, and instead there will be two rounds of one-off games. Uefa have been remarkably coy about how the first qualifying round will be drawn, but City – who feared it might not be seeded – now understand it will be.

The games will be played on November 3 and 4. Again, Uefa have not made clear how the home team will be determined.

The second qualifying round draw is on November 6, and the games that will decide which 10 clubs go through to the last 32 are on November 18-19.

THE SFA are expected to announce the outcome of their women’s football strategy review soon. There is a large pot of money to be spent on the working group’s recommendations, with £300,000 of the World Cup windfall still in the governing body’s coffers.

That is bolstered by a further £390,000 which Fifa made available to all member associations to assist women’s football through the pandemic.