Watching Charlie Adam waltz around the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Arsenal was perhaps a timely reminder that the standard of Scottish football and the future health of the game is not as grim as some soothsayers would suggest.
Here is a figure who never made it beyond the fringes of Rangers's first team, but was enjoying the freedom of Arsenal's home ground in the sort of languid style that once made Robert Prosinecki such a gloriously creative force with Croatia.
At times on Saturday, Adam looked like he could have planted a chair in the middle of the park to take a breather and sparked up a tab or two, like Prosinecki in his chain-smoking heydey, in between directing the traffic that raged around him.
Adam's contribution to Liverpool comes amid a period of wailing and gnashing of teeth in Scotland after Heart of Midlothian's trouncing by Tottenham Hotspur in their Europa League play-off match on Thursday. The truth relating to the condition of the Scottish Premier League got lost somewhere in the maelstrom.
It was hard not to get a sinking feeling as Spurs abused the home side at Tynecastle. It was five going on 15 on the night, but there has to be a sense of perspective about such an outcome. Tottenham's bench cost more than the entire Hearts squad.
To suggest Scottish football is on the wane because Hearts were outclassed by a side who reached the Champions League quarter-finals in April, finished fifth in the Premier League in May and were more than the equal of Manchester United for the first hour of their Premier League meeting at Old Trafford on Monday, makes as much sense as suggesting Celtic are primed to make off with the Champions League. As always, the truth lies somewhere in between.
The Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp went on the record after watching his team flog Hearts to intimate that his side had produced their best performance since he succeeded Juande Ramos in 2008. The side Redknapp inherited three years ago would not have been capable of what went on in Edinburgh. It was ruthless, efficient and stylish by a unit that embodied the term team in every sense.
Taking United out of the reckoning, there are several Premier League clubs who would struggle to live with Spurs in such a mood. One used this space to talk up Hearts's chances a week ago, but such an assumption was based on Tottenham playing their first match of the season, being without several regular players and struggling to reach their optimum level. I was shocked by the gulf between the two sides, but when you consider Hearts finished 29 points behind second-placed Celtic and 30 adrift of winners Rangers in the SPL last season, it was probably as predictable as discovering a novelty act at the Edinburgh festival.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and perhaps Liverpool are probably among the top 10 sides in Europe.
Scotland share a border with England, but that is where comparisons must stop. Scotland is a country of five million people, England has 50 million. The EPL is a behemoth which is awash with money from Gulf and Russian petrodollars. The Scottish Premier League television contract is worth a ha'penny or two. If you haven't got a ha'penny, a farthing will do. Larger nations than Scotland have similar ailments when one analyses the plight of once well-doing parishes largely rendered obsolete by the unfair distribution of wealth.
Of course, the usual suspects will always stick the boot into the Scottish game. An error-strewn Stan Collymore, formerly of Liverpool, somehow came up with the argument last year that Rangers had embarrassed themselves when they shut up shop and held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw in the Champions League. Hearts showed what happens when lesser level players attempt to stand toe to toe with the elite. Some haggard critics like to berate the SPL because a lot of foaming English critics - the sort of Kelvin MacKenzie-esque characters who loosely use the term Jocks, talk about tartan tossers and have a snigger about kilts and a country's social ills - do not particularly like Scots.
Having listened to Everton's chairman Bill Kenwright bemoan the lack of finances available to his squad, there may be a day of reckoning coming for some of the bigger clubs in England. The money being spent in England on players seems unsustainable. It would not be melodramatic to imagine a Premier League concern going bust with the level of money that is being spent.
Only then will the sensible and steady ploy of living within one's means begin to become apparent, but none of this is Scotland's concern. Scottish football must focus on trying to create its own wealth by unearthing more talent like Adam.
What is more pressing is that Rangers and Celtic should be more than sturdy enough to hoist themselves into the Europa League group stages. Celtic lacked any real purpose in drawing with the Swiss side Sion 0-0 at Celtic Park, while Rangers seem hellbent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in their early entries in Europe.
The Glasgow side were much slicker than Malmo in the Champions League play-off round, but forgot to pierce the opposing net as they went out with nine men on the park in Sweden. They somehow contrived to give up a 1-0 lead at half-time at Maribor to lose 2-1 in Slovenia. Celtic are away with Rangers at home this Thursday. Both sides must feel they have sufficient powers to progress.
Rangers and Celtic remain the marquee clubs in Scotland. They remain two of the biggest draws in the UK outside of Manchester United. Celtic will be forever recalled as the first British winners of the European Cup (former captain Billy McNeill is pictured above after the 1967 final), while the derby between the Glasgow pair remains as potent as any match in world football.
The doomsday scenario for the SPL would be no clubs in Europe before August is out. Whatever the seers are predicting, such an alarming prospect must be avoided at all costs.