SO the curtain comes down on a season that promised so much more that the much-undervalued League Leaders Shield seems an inadequate reward.

But that is the game; we all know the rules at the start of the year and that feeling traipsing out of the ground on Thursday after another semi-final loss was hard to stomach.

That performance, in the context of the season, aside, and accepting we all know the rules, try explaining this concept to a football fan.

You play a long gruelling season, finish clear at the top by six points plus a healthy scoring difference, but then fail to even get to the final to determine the Champions.

It was harsh on Cas last year, so it is again on Saints ­— but that is the concept we agreed to.

We are just going to have to accept that the game in 1998 signed up to the big night out under a blaze of fireworks has more weight than regular consistency, week to week, in the bread and butter competition.

The only we we would ever go back to first past the post would be if the fans themselves voted with their feet and only turned up ‘when it matters’. We would be in lumber then.

Next year’s system will be better in that it will genuinely reward the team finishing top, and then slowly decreasing that advantage going down to the sudden death positions on fourth and fifth.

Those regular rounds have to be meaningful and the results be properly integrated with the play offs.

The second point is that it will allow for a proper play-off series, build momentum, not be over in the blink of an eye.

The fact that the crowds at the all-pay semis were not massive tells you that there was something awry with the current formula.

Thankfully that has gone.