SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has opened up on the row over allowing Colt teams into the SPFL as Rangers and Celtic wait to hear if they will be allowed to field a second-string side in the league next season – and confessed there is a “development gap” in Scotland for players between 17 and 21.
Rangers have long pushed for the admission of Colt teams into the league to allow teams to give their best young players competitive experience in a senior league and further their development in a bid to become established senior professionals.
With leagues across Europe allowing Colts in some shape into the league, Doncaster insists it is a “proven way of developing young players” even if it isn’t the most popular move with fans of smaller clubs.
“I think there is a development gap in Scotland for players between the ages of 17 or 18 and 21,” Doncaster admitted [Price of Football].
“I think it’s recognised that we don’t have a system in place that enables us to develop players at that age as well as we could. B teams are a proven way of developing young players.
“Many leagues across Europe operate B teams in their lower divisions, including Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Holland. I think it’s 76% of Dutch under-21 players have played in B teams and I think it’s 67% of the Portuguese national team have played B team football so B teams are an established way of developing young players and certainly talking to my counterparts in other leagues across Europe, they do say that B teams are a very effective way of developing young players.”
The introduction of a Rangers Colts team in the league would be a massive step forward for developing players and allow the best youngsters to get meaningful game-time in League One or League Two while the club retain full control over their day-to-day workload.
The opposition is mainly driven by fans who don’t think it will ‘devalue’ the competitions, yet have no issue with their own side being half-full with players loaned in from the leagues above.
Hopefully, there will be a resolution soon though and let clubs get on with planning for next season and doing what is best for their players’ development.
Rangers fans have been reacting on Twitter to a ‘tremendous’ announcement about the upcoming Old Firm Scottish Cup clashs