‘Lower leagues in Scottish football are going stale’

East Kilbride boss Stephen Aitken insists pyramid system needs re-examined

Stephen Aitken has been unveiled as the new manager of East Kilbride
Stephen Aitken has been unveiled as the new manager of East Kilbride

A chance to address a staleness that has set in across the lower reaches of the Scottish senior set-up has been missed with the unwillingness to alter the senior structure, according to new East Kilbride manager Stevie Aitken.

Ann Budge’s proposal to switch from 12-10-10-10
to three leagues of 14 is destined to fail but Aitken is unequivocal that the pyramid must be re-examined.

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As it stands, in a normal season the team finishing bottom of League Two enters into a three-way play-off with the winners of the Lowland and Highland leagues but for Aitken, pictured, this is stifling the growing number of Lowland League clubs investing heavily to make the breakthrough to the senior game.

“The lower leagues of Scottish football are going stale,” said Aitken, who had a successful four-year spell with Dumbarton after starting out his senior management career at Stranraer.

“There aren’t enough teams for four leagues for a start. What you want to look at is trying to get clubs with ambition into the division and League Two should be 16 teams.

“There’s ambitious clubs who can bring a lot to the party and to win a league and go through play-off games for promotion can’t be right.

“Kelty Hearts were terrific last season and invested a lot and didn’t get the chance to go up [because of the pandemic] while Brechin City could have fallen out but that won’t happen so that should be looked at.

“But for us right now we need to focus on trying to bridge the gap with the likes of Kelty Hearts and BSC Glasgow. There’s going to be a lot of players in limbo and if I can use that to my advantage then I’ll do it.”

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