INSIDE a small room at Hampden Park on Monday a decision is to be made which will immediately affect two of our clubs although the ramifications of the outcome might well be felt far and wide.

A SFA tribunal panel will decide how much Aberdeen should pay Hamilton Academical for man of the moment Lewis Ferguson, who moved to Pittodrie while out of contract in the summer at the age of 18.

Aberdeen have proposed a fee of £100,000. Hamilton want £1.25m for the latest academy gradate.

Unlike the old days, the men chosen to find a compromise most likely won’t simply pick a figure somewhere in the middle and hope the two parties go home more or less satisfied.

And mark my words, the Accies will go to the national stadium utterly determined not to be, at least in their view, sold short.

It is highly unusual for a club director involved in such a matter to discuss publicly his thoughts before the case is heard; however, Hamilton vice-chairman Les Gray chose this newspaper to express his strong feelings.

I suggest to him he has a few things to get off his chest “I always have” and he did not mince his words about what he believes the fall-out would be for youth football in this country should the decision go in Aberdeen’s favour.

“I was at the forefront of Project Brave, I helped design it, and know what it’s all about, but I’m actually questioning the point of it if young players can’t stay in an environment they are currently in,” said Gray who until recently sat on the SPFL board.

“I know there is a time for players to leave us. We have shown that in the past. Everyone at Hamilton knows our place in the pecking order. But it can’t be that Scott McKenna is worth £20m in the eyes of Aberdeen and Lewis Ferguson is worth only £100,000. It is impossible for that to be the case.

“The boy (Ferguson) is at least at the same stage of his development or even further ahead of McKenna based on his performances, hours on the pitch and his Scotland caps at youth level. All of that is absurd to us.

"We think it could be another James McCarthy situation in that if Lewis had stayed for another year he would have developed into a right, good player, he would have been on a four year contract and we’d have got really good money for him when he went down south."

Ferguson was offered a contact by Hamilton before he had played a first-team game but by then his reputation as one to watch had grown and bigger clubs began to become interested.

And this happens. It’s football. This in itself is hardly front page news.

However, Gray’s point, and it’s shared by quite a few in Scottish football, is why have a youth system if a player a club has worked with and paid for over a number of years is allowed to leave for a fraction of what would be expected of an older player.

Greg Docherty moved for £800,000 to Rangers in January from Hamilton, a fee which was far more acceptable in Lanarkshire.

Gray and I chat in his plush office in one of Glasgow’s more desirable streets and it is obvious from his demeanour that for a club such as Hamilton whose entire being is about giving youth a chance, what happens on Monday would feel catastrophic if things did not go their way.

“The last tribunal was for Charlie Telfer,” said Gray. “He played one game for Rangers in League One and cost Dundee United £200,000. It can’t be that we are the wee diddy club and we’re going to get done. That’s just not going to happen because we’ll not accept that.

“Apparently there is no right of appeal but we will take this to the very end. We will go wherever we need to go with this. Ronnie MacDonald (chairman) and myself are going there on Monday and we'll fight vigorously fight for this. This is about what’s right in Scottish football.

“If the tribunal gets it right and offers us a figure which compensates us for our loss and puts us back where we should have been, and we continue to do what we do, then I would say it was fair and we can all move on.

“His real values is his value. It shouldn’t matter that we can’t afford to pay him (what Aberdeen can).

“This would put out the message that you can’t poach other club’s players without having to pay for them if they’re under 23. In which case we will continue to develop them without the fear of losing them for nothing.

“What we could so is to say to the kids we won’t put them in the first-team until they sign a contract but who does that help?

“So what we could have done with Lewis was to say; ‘we know you are going to do well but you want play in the first-team until you sign a four-year deal.’ That’s not how we do business.

“We have a relationship with players, managers and the parents whose kids have been with us since they were ten. They know what our model is and we won’t let them down in the end. They know we will let them go when the time is right but we want compensated at the right level.

“If you look at James McCarthy and James McArthur, both have gone on to do great things, we have been rewarded and have been able to develop other kids on the back of that.”

Oh, to be a fly on the way at that Monday morning meeting.

We then move on to the actual football.

Hamilton have been a Premiership club for seven years of the last ten. It’s an astonishing achievement for a club with a core of 2000 fans.

How do they do it?

“We do it by treating people fairly,” said Gray. “By getting the best out of our players for what we can afford to pay and by giving them a platform to play in the Premiership. And if they are good enough we don’t stand in their way.

“If you have that trust with your players, it does have a huge impact on, not just the philosophy for the club, but how we are viewed from the outside.

“Getting the best players in from ten and upwards is getting easier because we used to compete with Celtic in particular. They now come to us because they can see the pathway whereas before we had to fight for them."

Hamilton will continue to punch above their weight.

Aberdeen might be about to find out the little old Accies possess a killer uppercut.