Rangers Sporting Director Ross Wilson has defended the Rangers Colts plan and believes it could be vital to improving young players.
The plan is for both Rangers and Celtic to have a Colts team that would join Scottish League Two from next season.
Wilson believes firmly in the idea and is convinced it can help to nurture young Scottish players – thus having a positive benefit on the national team.
In a recent Rangers webinar, Wilson said, “The B teams as we call them, rather than Colts, is a programme of player development that we fundamentally believe in.
“We believe in it as a club, we believe in it as a group of people and it’s a proven model of success that you can see in many countries throughout Europe.
“It goes without saying that we are disappointed that as a country we have still not made any headway on that as we stand here today but it is a project we believe in and I find it hard to imagine a moment where we wouldn’t believe in that.”
The comments arrive as a vote is due to take place amongst lower league clubs that could allow the Colt teams to join the SPFL, with the agreement that they could not be promoted above Scottish League One.
Willie Miller, who often features as a pundit on BBC’s Sportscene, is a vocal critic of the Colts idea.
He wrote in an article for the Evening Express, “It’s a plan which suits Rangers and Celtic, but I don’t think it suits everyone else and, for the two Glasgow teams having 20-23 under-21 players making up these colt squads, I don’t think is sustainable in the long term.
“I don’t think it’s the short-term answer to the position Scottish football is in.”
Only a positive
Introducing a Colts team could certainly help Rangers but it can only be a positive for Scottish football too.
Giving more prospects a chance to develop playing men’s football means Scotland will have a bigger talent pool when it comes to picking the national team squad.
Playing for Rangers and Celtic carries big pressure and because of that managers can be unwilling to give young players game time.
Nathan Patterson has enjoyed a run in the team recently and performed brilliantly – but only got that chance because of a rare injury to James Tavernier.
Patterson, and other young players like Calvin Bassey and Kai Kennedy, could have benefitted from featuring for a Colts side in the lower leagues.
That kind of football allows youngsters to understand the big stakes involved in winning or losing – under 20s football is simply not as competitive.
Furthermore, the presence of the Colts in League Two is not going to harm the other teams in the division, and if anything they could see their attendances increase due to fans wanting to support Rangers in every way they can.