WHAT a godsend the play-offs can prove to be this season.

With Celtic accepted as champions before a ball was kicked, and proving this theory correct as they surged 18 points clear, the only real interest in the top half of the Premiership is who will finish second?

Dundee United have fallen away in recent weeks, and it looks like being fought out between Aberdeen and Motherwell.

But, really, the big interest in the closing months will be what happens at the other end of the table.

Hearts are finally getting their act together, with back-to-back wins bringing them out of negative points.

Can they catch any of the teams above them? It's still a huge ask.

But, they have to be admired for not giving up and, in the long-term, what is happening to this young bunch of players can stand the club in good stead.

I know from my time with Livingston, when we won the League Cup just weeks after having to let a lot of players go when we went into administration, how such adversity can bring out the best in guys and bind them as a unit.

If Hearts do go down, what an interesting Championship we will have next season as Rangers are on their way up to it, and others, like Falkirk, Dundee and Hamilton, could also be there, depending on how promotion works out this time.

The play-off will give one of them a second chance.

But, what a nightmare it is going to be for the club which finishes second bottom in the Premiership.

There is nothing tangible for them to gain - but there is certainly something tangible for them to lose.

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