Steven Gerrard has called on Scotland’s top clubs to follow Liverpool’s lead and bail out lower league sides to avert a League Cup disaster this season.

Teams at the bottom end of the SPFL as well as Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers will have to pay four-figure sums for Covid-19 tests ahead of games against top flight opposition in the competition.

That has led to fears some clubs will forfeit games rather than shell out money they don’t have, with some facing two normally money-spinning ties against Premiership sides in the group stage.

The SPFL revealed the latest guidance on Friday night but down south, Liverpool and West Ham are among several Premier League sides willing to pay for Football League sides to undergo the procedures in the Carabao Cup.

Gerrard said: “There will be a lot of concerns around the testing.

“I’m trying to think of the best way to move things forwards and to try and help the teams lower down who aren’t in a position to pay for it.

“I don’t think the club will thank me for this but the big clubs might need to show some support to the part-time teams or other teams lower down that are not in the same financial position, just so that we can continue to make sure that these competitions progress and finish and carry on.

“That’s the only way I see things progressing they way we all want them to progress, if the top clubs or the ones who are higher up support the ones lower down.

“The priority has to be safety, a player’s health. Part-time teams or teams in the lower leagues who are not tested, that’s something that needs to be looked into seriously because it could lead to more problems.”

League Two Annan were the latest club to suffer a Covid outbreak with four of Peter Murphy’s players struck down. They are due to face Hamilton in their opening Betfred match in just over two weeks.

Accies and St Mirren have both been forced to play top flight fixtures without a number of stars who were self-isolating.