Gary Dicker admits to feeling guilty as scores of footballers get tossed on to the scrapheap.

And the Kilmarnock skipper has outlined his despair at the prospect of some players having to retire from the game in their mid-20s.

Dicker was left shellshocked as news hit him of Dunfermline binning 17 players at the start of the weekend.

Other clubs will follow suit due to the financial fallout of the Covid-19 shutdown.

Dicker is amongst those who do have a deal for next term but he didn’t get a chance to say goodbye in person to those who were released by Killie a week ago.

And he says some stars with contracts at this current time will be feeling fortunate and a bit sheepish.

It’s a grim scenario and the 33-year-old confessed: “You feel guilty at being kept on. You feel lucky and a fortunate one.

“Some clubs probably will take the easy route and get rid of people. That’s where the loyalty talk comes in football.

“I know clubs have to look after themselves but they’d get shot of you in a minute if they don’t want you.

“I know how hard it is to get a club but it’s even harder in this situation – it’s scary.

“Hopefully, in a few weeks, the lads that have gone will be able to get clubs and contracts but it’s not looking too good. Especially when you see the other day that Dunfermline released 17 players.

“It’s madness. A lot of people are talking about the clubs but they will always be there because fans will always put their hands in their pockets.

“It’s frightening for players though. They might not get work for months.

“We’re lucky at our club with 11 contracted players and we have great backing from Billy [Bowie] and Phyllis [McLeish] who will help to look after the boys – but not all clubs can do that.

“The Killie Trust also gave a £50,000 donation. We are fortunate that way but I don’t know if clubs will go about signing players. You do feel guilty when you see the situation other lads are in right now.”

Dicker fears for the scores of footballers who are losing their employment.

Many will be lost to the game and those who get a chance to return may do so on much-reduced money.

He said: “If clubs offer contracts, they might take advantage. That might happen. Offering lads money they can’t really afford to take but they have to take to stay in the game and survive.

“It might have to be short-term contracts straight away. When lads have families, it’s hard when only, say, six months is offered.

“The players are going to suffer the most. The boys out of contract.

“It’s going to be hard for teams in League One and Two and even the Championship. A lot of them have jobs but depend on that bit of extra money from football.

“It’s not a millionaire lifestyle but it’s a lifestyle that needs to be paid for.”

Dunfermline’s move hinted at more pain to come across Scotland and Dicker said: “Everyone is hard up for money but there has to be something to help the lads out of contract.

“I don’t know how you do it but seeing 17 players released? You are going to have people retiring at 25. There isn’t the PFA like there is in England that can help out for two months. I know they are all talking about Premier League boys in England but they don’t need it.

“It’s the likes of League One and League Two and the same in Scotland.

“That is 17 players looking for a job with bills to pay. I can’t see the government stepping in. Other than Celtic and Rangers, every other club is going to need help and boys are being released all the way down the divisions.”

Dicker hopes something can be done to help unemployed players and admits it has been odd to see team-mates vanish from boss Alex Dyer’s squad by virtue of their names just disappearing off a screen.

He said: “You might get the odd situation in a January window when someone has to leave without you seeing them as it happens overnight.

“But when it’s coming to the end of a season you usually sort of know where you are.

“That’s where it has been bad for the lads. Clubs didn’t know if the season would continue and you can’t turn around to a lad and say you don’t want him for next season where there might have been a chance the league might have restarted.

“You are just seeing people leaving the WhatsApp group.

“People are leaving messages. It’s so different than seeing them face to face.”