Neilston and Arthurlie were among two-thirds of junior clubs who indicated their interest in the possibility of setting up a pathway to the senior ranks.

News emerged last week of the SJFA asking all of the 158 junior clubs in a questionnaire whether they would want to join the SFA pyramid.

A majority indicated on the questionnaire they were for it, with 99 teams indicating yes on the ballot, with 55 voting no, while four teams failed to respond.

Despite responding yes, Neilston match secretary Kevin Robertson was, however, keen to stress that it was not a vote, but simply a questionnaire and that the club’s favourable response did not necessarily indicate their approval for joining.

He said: “It was only a questionnaire, and until there are proposals we do not know what we are doing. The reason we said yes was because it is good to debate these things.

“As a committee we could not say whether we want to join or not because there are no details. At the moment we have just been asked if in principal if we would be in favour.

“We are waiting till the proposals come out then as a committee we will do what we always do and decide if we are in favour or not.

“It’s more, I think, the trouble is if everyone says no then there is no talking about it. In taking the game forward there is no harm in talking about it.

“At Neilston we thought it is good to have the debate. I think that’s why a lot of clubs said yes to see what they had to say about it.

“It’s good to at least let the debate happen and see what is on offer and what is involved. If the proposals come out and it does not suit us we would say no.”

Two further options were offered to clubs in the questionnaire, either to seek entry at tier five of the pyramid scheme, at the same level as the Highland League and Lowland League, or at the bottom, tier six, on the same layer as the East of Scotland and South of Scotland Leagues.

The pyramid scheme, introduced in 2013, gives clubs from the non-leagues a pathway once denied to them, to the SPFL, with the winners of the Highland and Lowland Leagues competing in a play off for the right to challenge the bottom club in the SPFL for their place in League Two.

There are, however, clear obstacles in the way of joining the pyramid above tier six. Only 15 of the Junior clubs who responded to the questionnaire indicated they meet “entry level” club licensing criteria and 139, including Neilston and Arthurlie admitted they fall short in the questionnaire.

Roberston added: “The thing clubs need to worry about is if they join pyramid is if meeting the criteria costs a lot of money. You have got to have a ground that is properly licensed.

“You’ve got to think the travelling further it costs more and players are working full time jobs and suddenly playing teams in places like Selkirk and guys can’t make it.

“We are not Rangers, juniors works because play teams in your area. All these wee considerations need to be thought about.

“We do not know where it will end up but there will be football no matter what.”

An Arthurlie spokesperson added: “Arthurlie are always keen to explore all options available to the club, and after some brief discussions amongst the committee, we decided to vote that we would be interested in the option of joining the pyramid.

“Obviously there is no definite commitment that has been made at this stage, but we look forward to the SJFA EGM which will be called following the recent vote and once we get a clearer view of the options to us.

“Then we will consult as a committee and possibly speak to our season ticket holders before making any further decisions on what would be a major development for the club and the future of junior football as a whole.”

The SJFA association secretary Tom Johnston said: “A questionnaire was posted out to the clubs at the end of January/the beginning of February following a series of discussions with the leagues and with the SFA.

“It asked the clubs if they wished to join the pyramid system and we now have the results.

“I have written to Andrew McKinlay to make him aware of the vote and expect to meet with him when he comes back from Hungary. The next step will be for us to have an EGM and to seek the SFA’s views.

“The clubs have considered the option and some clearly see the opportunities that may become available to them in the pyramid.”