Hamilton boss Brian Rice has admitted he is “really disappointed” that clubs knocked back a proposal that would have expanded the SPFL to 48 teams and opened the door to Rangers and Celtic B teams in the league next season – questioning the message it sends to promising young players in Scotland.
After an indicative vote, clubs didn’t see merit in the proposals and blocked Rangers and Celtic further pursuing it, with the Accies boss insisting it is crucial that B teams are given a pathway into the senior leagues.
The proposals would have seen the league expanded by two teams for each of the next three seasons, with Rangers and Celtic making substantial payments to League One and Two clubs, and Rice thinks the benefits for players outweigh the risks for clubs, calling them the “future of Scottish football.”
“Things like this set us back. I’m really disappointed,” Rice said [Glasgow Live].
“You look all over Europe and there are colts teams or second teams playing in proper leagues.
“The clubs benefit but more importantly the youngsters coming through benefit playing competitive football in a league structure.
“I can understand financially and other sides where clubs maybe don’t want them in or they see it as a threat.
“But my own personal opinion is we’ve got to get these teams into leagues and make it competitive.
“Don’t give up, keep pushing. If you give up what message are you sending to the kids?
“They are the future of Scottish football so never give up. One day that door might open.”
Rangers and Celtic need to continue pushing for B teams in SPFL
Rangers and Celtic have been pushing for B teams to be given a place in the league for years now with lower league clubs blocking it at every turn.
The self-interest from some of these clubs is remarkable, yet unsurprising as the tail wags the dog yet again in Scottish football.
Allowing teams with gates averaging less than 500 in normal times to effectively dictate the direction of the Scottish game is why national sport has stagnated for years.
While teams in Leagues One and Two might not fancy the prospect of facing Rangers and Celtic B teams, they are more than happy to take Rangers and Celtic Academy players on loan at a tiny fraction of their usual wages.
Perhaps it’ll take the Old Firm making a stand and opting not to effectively subsidise the playing staff of teams who are doing all they can to hinder the development of those same players.