The new Glasgow Cup changes could prove to be a big boost for Celtic this season.
The competition, which was won by the Hoops’ under-20s last season, has taken on some fresh and vibrant modifications.
The standout for Celtic fans will be that clubs can now include two over-age players into the mix. These players will join the regular under-21s who already qualify to feature.
Celtic play their first match of the competition against Clyde’s first-team tonight. It will be interesting to see if Neil Lennon uses the opportunity to field the likes of Vakoun Issouf Bayo and Marian Shved respectively.
The freedom to play fringe players will at least give the supporters a chance to have a look at them. It would also allow the fringe men to seriously have their opportunity to stand-out.
In another key change, the competition will now be structured in a league-style formate. The five teams involved will play each other both home and away. The top two will then play in the final in April, according to the Daily Record.
In even more exciting news for the youth players, they won’t be playing against colt sides either. Like the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup, Celtic colts will play against some senior sides, this time around Glasgow.
The teams involved with senior players are Clyde, Partick Thistle, and Queen’s Park. Rangers, of course, only have their colts involved.
A huge opportunity for many to shine – all eyes on tonight
This feels like a door has just opened for the youngsters at Parkhead. What an opportunity to seriously make an impression on Lennon.
Yet the big mystery will be who Celtic play as their over-age players. That is, of course, if Celtic choose to use them. You would hope, however, that we finally got a look at some of the players who we hoped to see against Dunfermline but didn’t.
Shved and Bayo are the standouts. However, others such as Eboue Kouassi and Jack Hendry could also come into the mix.
Meanwhile, the likes of Luca Connell, Jack Aitchison, and Karamoko Dembele can do themselves no harm with these current changes. It allows them to feature against experienced professionals, something all of the youngsters should crave.
Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Thistle, for example, will play all of their best players. But there will still be plenty of senior stars on show. It’s a positive move for Scottish football, and injects some more energy into the Glasgow Cup.
Now, all eyes are on tonight and to see who performs for the Hoops at Broadwood at 8:15pm. Will we see the surely itching Bayo and Shved? Here’s hoping.