SPFL club chairman discusses how close Celtic colts plan is to completion

By David Walton

January 7, 2021

Stenhousemuir chairman Ian McMenemy has stated that the plan to have SPFL include Celtic and Rangers colts teams is nowhere near through.

The Daily Mail reported yesterday that Rangers’ Stewart Robertson is drafting up a proposal. This is to include both Rangers and Celtic colt teams in the SPFL League Two next season. As part of the plan, the two clubs will combine investment to provide the lower leagues with a £1million figure. This is clearly an attempt to sweeten the deal.

McMenemy is part of the working group helping Robertson to get his proposal through. It also includes St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown, Partick Thistle’s Gerry Britton, and George Fraser of the Lowland League.

However, despite the fact there are hopes it will be pushed through in time for next season, it’s not worth getting ahead of ourselves just yet. The Stenny chairman believes there are two main issues the plan will run into.

“It’s coming forward for discussion”

Speaking to the Daily Mail (print edition, 07/101, page 91), McMenemy said: “It is by no means anywhere near getting through at the moment. It’s coming forward for discussion. There are two main areas of opposition, from what I hear. The first is the integrity of the league.

“That’s the key for a lot of people, the idea that there will be “B” teams who won’t be challnging for the title because they can’t get promoted beyond whatever is decided. There’s also the concern “B” teams could ahve six first-team players turning out one week, and then a totally differet team the following week. But I think these concerns can be dealt with through competition rules.

“The other part, and we’ve got to be honest about it, is the baggage that Celtic and Rangers bring. There are a lot of fans at lower-league clubs who don’t want that anywhere near their clubs.”

McMenemy’s fears shouldn’t be enough to stop SPFL route for Celtic/Rangers colts

I could sing my thoughts about this all day.

The first concern McMenemy has shouldn’t really be one. So long as there’s an understanding that this is a “colts” side and not a “reserve” team, there should be no issue. As he says, there can be rules laid out about this from next season onward.

It’s not as if Celtic and Rangers couldn’t still have a reserve team. Friendly games and challenge matches can still be arranged if certain players need to build up fitness levels. Easily sorted.

Celtic training centre at Lennoxtown / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The second one is just nonsense. Brechin vs Celtic. God, I can just see the absolute carnage that fixture will provide off the pitch. Come on. Celtic and Rangers go to these places every year in cup competitions. There is never any major bother. Certainly none more so than what generally happens week-to-week in the Premiership.

Are we really going to create something out of nothing to avoid colt teams from getting access to the SPFL? It makes no sense. These potential concerns aren’t justifiable enough.

Jim McInally provided his verdict on it earlier today. He blamed Celtic and Rangers for “exploiting” the Covid situation with their plan to put £1m. Give me a break. How dare we look to develop the country’s top young stars. It’s time to stop looking at why this shouldn’t happen and start looking at why it should.

In other news, Gary Holt sounds like he can’t get enough of this Celtic-linked talent.