Kris Commons thinks proposed SPFL shake-up will be of benefit to Celtic

By John McGinley

March 13, 2023

Former Celtic attacker Kris Commons reckons the proposed addition of a new ‘Conference League’ below Scottish League Two will be a benefit to young players coming through the club.

Celtic have fielded a B team in the last two Scottish Lowland Football League seasons but it’s not a long-term arrangement. It was reported by The Scottish Daily Mail last week that clubs are now looking at introducing a more stable project to Scottish football, featuring multiple colt teams from the Premiership, as well as teams from the Lowland and Highland leagues – with promotion to League Two available.

Understandably, not everyone is a fan of the proposals – especially grassroots sides much further down the divisions who see this step as an effective relegation. Manager Ange Postecoglou has already spoken out in favour of a new structure for his young players and Commons has followed that up with further backing.

Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Writing in his Scottish Daily Mail column today [13/03 print, Verdict supplement page 16], he said: “Young players in the proposed Scottish Conference may not be up against such famous names but they’ll face similar situations against veteran professionals who know the game inside out.

“You simply can’t buy that kind of experience. It propels a player’s game to greater heights because they need to learn how to think and how to move that bit quicker to avoid injury. They become physically and mentally tougher in the process. And then, on top of all that, their ability as a footballer will shine through.

“You are also playing on pitches that are often not perfect. It all gives you an education about, and a respect for, life at that level of the game. And it doesn’t matter what that level is. If you look at the current Scotland squad, their captain Andy Robertson came through at Queen’s Park in the fourth tier of Scottish football. The proposed Scottish Conference League will send more of the best young kids at Premiership clubs out to learn what football is really about.”

It remains to be seen whether these proposals go through. Nothing like this ever seems straightforward in Scottish football when multiple clubs have to agree on something. However, if they do, there will at least be a little bit of stability for Celtic B moving forward.

The uncertainty going into this season regarding the Lowland League wasn’t ideal and a set schedule will allow the club to properly participate in invitational tournaments and other tests at youth level.

I understand the hesitation from smaller community clubs about these proposals, but over the long-term bridging the gap between youth and 21+ football should be a benefit to many players and teams, including Celtic.

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