Rangers and Celtic colts plan splits Scottish football fans down Old Firm lines

Scottish football is split on Colt teams entering the league system – with only fans of the Old Firm in favour of the concept.

Rangers' Stephen Kelly competes with Stephen Welsh as the Old Firm under-20s meet in the Glasgow Cup (Picture: SNS)
Rangers' Stephen Kelly competes with Stephen Welsh as the Old Firm under-20s meet in the Glasgow Cup (Picture: SNS)

Just 16% of lower league fans said they would watch their team against Rangers or Celtic’s second-string under-21 sides, compared to 80% of the Glasgow clubs’ supporters, a survey has revealed.

Suggestions to add B teams from Rangers and Celtic to League Two are back on the agenda with lower league clubs expected to return to discussions on the idea later this month. However before they do, their supporters had their say via the Scottish Supporters Network and Supporters Direct Scotland – and the lower league fans have voted unanimously against the proposal.

The survey on the issue showed a divide between supporters of the Old Firm clubs who would add the additional under-21 teams to the pyramid and their rivals, both in the Premiership and the new teams’ prospective opponents in League Two.

Some 88% of Old Firm fans were in favour of the idea – but just 11% of the 40 other SPFL clubs were positive about the Colts’ introduction. Overall, fewer than one in four Scottish football supporters back the proposal.

However, despite the opposition overall the interest in adding the two teams – and potentially others from the Highland and Lowland Leagues into an expanded League Two – does increase the further down the pyramid system the survey polled.

In the Highland league 37% of respondents were in favour but in League Two just 17%, decreasing through to just eight per cent of fans of Premiership clubs who responded believing it to be a good idea.

The poll also asked ‘how else do you think Scottish football could improve the development of elite young players in Scotland?’ an the SSN added: “Almost 2,500 fans took the time to answer this question – this gives us a lot of food for thought, and while it will take some time to analyse it fully, prominent themes appear to be the loan system, academy infrastructure, a reserve league, limits on foreign players and targets for the inclusion of home-grown players.”

Interim survey results have also been passed to the SPFL and Scottish Football Association.

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