Celtic B Team plans thrown into limbo beyond 2022 as SPFL clubs reject reconstruction

By Euan Davidson

July 13, 2021

The Celtic B Team face an uncertain future, after league reconstruction plans were rejected by SPFL clubs.

According to the Daily Record, Celtic and Rangers were, again, trying to have B Teams competing in the lower reaches of the professional pyramid. Both clubs have an agreement with the SLFL for the coming season. However, the Scottish Lowland Football League have no plans to keep the clubs’ B Teams in the league beyond the completion of 21-22.

That uncertainty led to Celtic and Rangers pitching to the SFA and SPFL. That may seem like a fool’s errand, given the rejections both clubs have faced from the league authorities in recent months [Scotsman].

Nonetheless, try they did. With the support of the SFA and the SPFL Innovation Group, plans for league reconstruction were mooted to SPFL clubs. The plan was, after a year in the SLFL, to introduce Celtic and Rangers B Teams into the fourth tier of Scottish football. Six teams, including the B Teams, would be added to League Two over the next few seasons, per the Innovation Group’s plans.

However, again, Celtic have had the door slammed in their face over the Colts team issue. The plans were met with such opprobrium that they didn’t even make the Written Proposal stage.

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An SPFL spokesman said [via Daily Record]:

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“We would like to thank the members of the Innovation Group – Stewart Robertson, Gerry Britton, Steve Brown, Iain McMenemy and George Fraser – for their hard work and commitment in putting together such detailed proposals.

“Importantly, their paper has generated wide-ranging debate on how we improve the development of young Scottish players.

“The challenge now is to continue discussions right across the game on how we can maintain the momentum which resulted in the Scotland men’s national team qualifying for UEFA EURO 2020.”

Celtic feel wrath of SPFL clubs yet again

It’s an interesting angle to take; do the SFA and SPFL Innovation Group feel this would benefit young footballers in Scotland? Certainly, SPFL clubs don’t see a benefit.

On the one hand, there’s a massive opportunity to give game-time experience to talented young footballers. In a competitive environment, no less. The lower reaches of the Scottish pyramid certainly felt the benefit of Luca Connell, Ewan Otoo and more.

These could be some of Scotland’s star talents. Without a good enough Reserve football infrastructure, there’s a real developmental gap here. From Celtic’s point of view, it’s a no-brainer, and if it can be done, it should.

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However, it’s easy to see why SPFL clubs have rejected this again. For many, what’s beautiful about the lower leagues is the mix of different identities, localities and histories that smaller clubs have. Throwing Celtic and Rangers into the mix homogenises that culture, it’d be fair to say.

Without real evidence that B Teams have a tangible impact on the Scotland team, it’s hard to mount a case. However, it’s a chicken and egg scenario; you can’t prove it works without giving it a try first.

Whatever the case, we have three big Celtic teams to support next season. The Men’s first-team, the Women’s team and the B Team will all be available to watch regularly, and that’s exciting.

What happens after 21-22 is anyone’s guess, however.

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