East Kilbride are looking to push forward a proposal to see Celtic and Rangers colts placed in a new “League Three” competition next season.
Reports have surfaced earlier this week of the Glasgow clubs looking to buy spots in League Two for their colts sides [Scottish Sun]. Previous suggestions have been put forward in the past, and it’s attracted anger from those in Scottish football’s fourth tier [Evening Express].
But it hasn’t been all negative from the lower leagues either. Caledonian Braves manager Ricky Waddell admitted he would be open to the idea so long as it involved a wider discussion on league reconstruction [Daily Record].
And that appears to be something East Kilbride are also pushing. Their manager, former Celt Stevie Aitken, has looked to put forward an idea for a new “League Three” competition that would make up Scottish football’s fifth tier.
“Something they have to look at”
Speaking about the prospect in the Daily Record, Aitken said: “Let’s look at reconstruction. There is now a chance to get a bit of excitement and enthusiasm into it and bringing the Colts into it would certainly do that. I think it’s something they have to look at because at the moment we are playing each other four times a year. I don’t think players like it, I don’t think supporters like it. There is no attraction there.
“Let’s get teams up there like the Kelty, Brora, East Kilbride, BSC, teams that have ambition. I think League Three is something we will be revisiting. I think reconstruction to bring a new division in would do that. If you can bring teams up that meet the criteria and have the right facilities, teams could apply and we put the Colts in there.
“They are not affecting the League Two clubs and then we try to get promotion and relegation between the two leagues. You’ve got the likes of Darvel, Auchinleck Talbot, Clydebank, Kilwinning Rangers who could also hit the criteria.
“Sponsorship, TV rights, that all comes through Rangers and Celtic, so if they are wanting to invest in the lower leagues of Scottish football, why would you stop it? I think it’s the right time to reconstruct all of Scottish football.”
East Kilbride idea must be taken seriously; Celtic and Rangers must be open to negotiation
It may have sections of the support uneasy, but Celtic have to be open to this. Any avenue into the lower leagues for colt teams that satisfies those currently in the divisions must be entertained. It could be our only route into them.
If Celtic and Rangers are too bullish to entertain suggestions, we’ll be forever locked out. Remember, club size doesn’t matter here. We can’t dictate things just because we’re the biggest clubs in Scotland. We need to win over the hearts and minds of the lower league clubs.
A League Three set-up could potentially be a way to win over both League Two and the Highland/Lowland leagues. It would provide easier access for promotion to those clubs who have that level of ambition. The likes of Kelty Rangers, East Kilbride, and Auchinleck Talbot would finally see a window of opportunity open up for them.
Of course, the major issue with this could be that it works both ways. If it’s easier to gain promotion to League Two, it’s easier to be relegated from it also. As things stand, the team that finishes bottom of the fourth tier faces the winner of a play-off between the Highland and Lowland League champions. In simpler terms, it benefits the 10 League Two sides.
Winning them over with this proposal could be tricky. However, it could be the only route open to us without major widespread apathy from the lower-league clubs.
We’ll see what transpires. But there’s a desire for league reconstruction from the Highland/Lowland league clubs. Perhaps we could use that to our own advantage regarding the future of the colts.