CELTIC manager Neil Lennon has given a cautious welcome to Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir’s proposal that colt teams of the two big Glasgow clubs be admitted to the bottom tier of the senior game.
Longmuir has faced a furious backlash from member clubs for suggesting that second sides run by Celtic and Rangers could fill the two vacancies created were the current 42-club league set-up to be replaced by a 12-12-10-10 format – a modification of the more favoured 12-12-18 structure SFL and Scottish Premier League clubs are expected to vote on next month.
Retaining four tiers instead of moving to three would ensure that Third Division champions-elect Rangers faced an entirely different set of league opponents next season, though in both set-ups they would remain two promotions away from the top flight.
Lennon did not appear vexed about any possible outcome to the number crunching to create the divisions within the league structure, but did see a value to other than the Glasgow clubs themselves in the campaign for colt teams.
“I think it is a good idea, in essence,” the Celtic manager said. “A couple of the bigger clubs in Europe do it. From what I gather there is a lot of protest to it. It is not my jurisdiction, nor is the reconstruction. I know we are all trying to improve the game and these are just ideas that have been mooted and it will be up to the chairmen to decide.
“I think [young Celtic players] would benefit and I think other clubs would as well. You cannot win the league, you cannot get promoted. It may bring extra revenue in for other clubs and it may give players the chance to play a decent level of football week in, week out, which is what we do not get at development.”
Lennon described it a “bone of contention” within the managerial fraternity that this group had not been asked their opinion on these latest hot topics, or indeed any others. “Regardless of whether it is reconstruction or whether it be the way the game is going forward – under 21 rules, under 20 league, anything like that – managers are left out of the discussions.
“I think they should be the voices heard more than anybody else. But we do not runs clubs, we run football teams.”