Rangers expect to field a B team in next season’s Lowland League after clubs voted to approve the Old Firm Colts joining their ranks for a single season – and the continued complaints from sides beneath the Lowland League are tiresome and are deliberately attempting to mislead fans.
Various club figures have come out moaning about Rangers and Celtic joining the fifth tier of the Scottish league pyramid with teams from the East and West of Scotland leagues complaining they have been ignored in a bid to parachute the Old Firm in; quite often throwning in everyone’s favourite buzzword, ‘sporting integrity.’
The Scottish Lowland Football League can confirm that member clubs have voted in favour of a proposal allowing Rangers and Celtic ‘B’ teams to take part in next season’s competition – for one season only.
— Scottish Lowland League 🏴 (@OfficialSLFL) May 10, 2021
However, every single one of them has missed a pretty important detail out when it comes to why none of them were asked to take the spots filled by Rangers and Celtic B – they voted to declare their season null and void as a result of the Covid restrictions.
Blantyre Vics boss John Gibson is the latest to trot out the tired lines [Daily Record] about other clubs somehow being ‘more deserving’ despite many of them having yet to kick a ball as a senior club following their move from the junior ranks en-masse.
Clubs like Darvel, Clydebank, Kilwinning, Irvine, Auchinleck have all been named as ones who should have been considered for promotion to the Lowland League and it has hard to see how that circle is squared.
Had they fulfilled their season, clubs like Clydebank and Auchinleck may have been in with more of a shout but after opting to null and void their season, they don’t really have a leg to stand on. If they want to play the ‘sporting integrity’ card, so be it but it needs to be something that goes both ways.
Clubs can’t complain about Rangers and Celtic having B teams in the league when many of these teams that are, apparently, better choices have no more right to be ‘promoted’ to the Lowland League than Rangers and Celtic do to field B teams.
What also seems to have been missed by clubs – deliberately or otherwise – is that this is designed to give some of Scotland’s best young players the chance to play regular competitive minutes and aid their development.
With the greatest respect to all of the clubs in the East/West of Scotland leagues, none of them have young players in their ranks who will be expected to make up the core of the Scottish national team in years to come.
If these clubs were really opposed to teams fielding reserve/B/colt teams in the league system, they’d need to explain why nobody has had any issue with Stranraer, Annan Athletic and Caley Braves fielding reserve sides in the pyramid over the last few seasons.
Clubs should just be honest about the reasons for their opposition to the plans – self-interest – rather than coming out with disingenuous nonsense about the ‘integrity’ of the pyramid and concerns about fan numbers.