Critics will talk but the B Team is doing its job for Celtic

By Euan Davidson

August 14, 2021

So, in case you missed it, the Celtic B Team won 10 (ten)-0 today. It was another extremely impressive result for Tommy McIntyre’s side, with Joey Dawson, Owen Moffat and co scoring for fun against Vale of Leithen.

My esteemed colleague John McGinley covered the game for 67 Hail Hail, and you can read all about it here.

With Academy players and signings alike contributing to a historic goal glut for Celtic’s B side, it’s worth enjoying now. Because you can already hear the barrage of moans from across Scottish football.

“It flies in the face of competition”, they’ll say. “Why do Celtic need a B Team? It’s just greed”. So on, and so forth. I’ll admit, for a while there, I was almost of the same opinion myself.

I thought, for a while at least, that if there was a Celtic B Team in the lower reaches of the SPFL, say, that it would dilute the anachronistic charm of lower league football. There’s still an argument there, and yes, if Celtic and Rangers did have well-funded B Teams in the SPFL you could make that case.

As it happens though, we don’t. We have a team in the SLFL, who after a tough start to life against Bonnyrigg Rose, have gone from strength to strength. Under tenured and talented coach Tommy McIntyre, players who might have otherwise been lost in the vacuum of the loan system, or even released by Celtic in the past, are getting valuable game time.

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For the first time in a long time, the club that developed the Lisbon Lions, the Quality Street Gang and other iconic generations of Celtic players have a clear progression from youth football to the first-team.

With a B Team, Celtic are following a successful European model

It’s possible that a discussion on B Teams, especially where your own club is concerned, can never truly be impartial.

So, why bother trying to please everyone? Celtic, ever the gluttons for punishment, have made repeated attempts to put a B Team in the SPFL, to no avail [Scotsman]. The future of the team itself, beyond this season, is extremely uncertain.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Yet, we can imagine few would complain if some of the next top Scottish talents were products of successful models like this. Germany and Spain have had B Teams for a considerable time, and are both recent World Cup winners.

That success isn’t down to having B Teams of course, but giving young players competitive exposure from an early age can’t exactly have been a hindrance.

Let’s be clear; there were some really promising players out there today. Adam Brooks, Owen Moffat, Dane Murray and more could be Scotland players if their upward trajectory continues. That’s instead of having their development stalled by stop-start youth football, the odd friendly or city-wide Cup tournament.

The likes of Rocco Vata, Bosun Lawal, Tobi Oluwayemi; these could all be star players in the SPFL before too long. It’s not just players, either; top coaching talent can get their first taste of competitive football, too.

Whatever the arguments are, it’s working for Celtic

There’s also the financial and supporter aspect. Not everyone can afford to get to Celtic Park every week. It might be affordable to many more, though, who live outside Glasgow, to see the Celtic stars of the future in their hometown.

Look, whatever the arguments against it are, Celtic have to think for Celtic. That’s just the reality of it. And so far, it’s been a roaring success, under the guidance of Tommy McIntyre.

Photo by Ross MacDonald – SNS GroupSNS Group via Getty Images

Fine, talk of competitive imbalance is hardly helped after a 10-0 win. But not every week has been like that, and this is real game time for some of Scotland’s most promising young talents.

It’s a system that has no shortage of critics. But the evidence so far, from Celtic’s point of view, is entirely positive.

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