40 years of B team failure


In the grand scheme of things, it might not seem to matter that Celtic’s B team have no reserve league to compete in next season.  It will not determine the outcome of the league title and will affect Premiership teams equally.  The impact of what happens in reserve football are, however, real and long lasting.

For decades, Celtic have dominated Scottish youth leagues, yet the ability to transform players who shine in their age group into first team regulars is woeful.  James Forrest, Callum McGregor and the superstar from Wishaw are all we are inclined to talk about since Paul McStay bookended the golden two decades 40 years ago.  Compare that to the relative success of Hibs, Aberdeen, United, Motherwell, even Hamilton Accies!

Reasons for failures are usually complex and simplistic explanations by outsiders should come with a Dunning-Kruger health warning, but I know multiple iterations of Celtic coaches have bemoaned the lack of competition our development squads face.

A young David Turnbull at Motherwell would have taken midfield responsibility as his side battled teams of equal or greater ability.  The same player at Celtic would play in a team that dominated possession every week and always faced weaker opponents.  No one improves their sharpness, industry or skill continually facing weaker opposition.

The consequence of all this is that we can expect our finest talent to wither on the vine more often than grab a pitch-side megaphone unless and until they face better players week-in, week-out.

The perennial ‘Colts team’ proposition now sits with the Scottish Lowland League, which I do not expect is of a great standard, although many of their pitches are better than their SFL counterparts.  It is better than nothing and possibly better that a Premiership Reserve league, however, if we want to reverse a 40 year trend, we will need to be far more creative.

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  1. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    One of a large number of things that need revolutionised in Scottish football and, in particular, at Celtic.



    New ideas / better competition / bus journeys to Northern England for the youth team / a North Atlantic Colts league (the Celtic weans would love that!)?






  2. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on

    CQN Article re: Colts:



    “…That will hit the Hoops and their Glasgow neighbours at Ibrox with a dilemma…”



    Old Firm right enough – who gives one flying fluk about any dilemma our ‘neighbours’ might have?




    Frank Terry.



    I despair because I believe we should all be floating voters, who LEND their votes to parties and those parties have to work their socks off to EARN our vote next time round. We should not be any party´s cannon fodder. IMHO The Green Brigade and others should not get obsessed with conflicts thousands of miles away, ie Palestine. Basically because the issues are complex and at a young age you are only beginning to understand the complexity of the Israeli – Palestine conflict which goes back to 1948. That said we obviously do have a legitimate voice about Ireland which is in a neighbouring country where we have family ties, apart from a shared culture and language.




    With regards to brexit, I also feel we should appreciate that older people are doing just that, looking from a closer more manageable UK perspective rather than a European one with 26 countries in it. Is that a lack of solidarity or a reality check? Those experienced citizens also were around in 1973 when we were sold the EEC as an economic nirvana for all europeans, rather than a clique run by presidents from Luxembourg who changed it into a POLITICAL UNION. Alright when it´s the eurovison song contest ( Luxembourg have won it 5 times) but not on when it comes to the president of the EU, who should come from a real country.

  4. The Battered Bunnet on

    Cornelius, if you’re looking in, best wishes to your Missus for a speedy recovery.

  5. Paul 67 et al,



    “Compare that to the relative success of Hibs, Aberdeen, United, Motherwell, even Hamilton Accies!



    Reasons for failures”





    How much do we spend on Lennoxtown?


    How much do we spend in comparison to the teams you mention ?



    I really hope Eddie Howe takes the reins. A new modern approach to suit a modern footballing era. However if Eddie cannot get value for money from Lennoxtown then we need to take a fresh look at its viability.




  6. The Battered Bunnet on

    Along with Marspappa, Jobo and a few others of this parish, I (used to) go along to K Park to watch EKFC in the Lowland League on a Saturday afternoon on those weekends when Celtic were playing on a Sunday.



    It’s a competitive league and enjoyable football, but it’s not a professional standard. Players generally fall into 2 types: those younger players 18-21 recently released by senior teams; and ex semi-pros/juniors who still want to play but to whom no senior club is prepared to pay a wage anymore.



    Relegated former SPFL sides East Stirlingshire and Berwick Rangers have found to difficult to compete against the students of Stirling Uni and the ex juniors from Bonnyrigg, let alone the league’s top clubs – Kelty, EKFC and BSC (Broomhill Sports Club).



    It’s recreational football of a good standard, but as a grounding for aspiring elite young professionals, I can’t see the immediate attraction. Perhaps it’s just a Trojan horse to get into the SPFL proper via promotion, although that’s very much easier said than done.

  7. We had the perfect opportunity to give a couple of youngsters ( at least) a run in the team after the huns won the league.



    But our highly rated , up and coming, well thought of, interim manager shuffled the same pack every game and got the same results.

  8. PHILBHOY on 6TH MAY 2021 12:37 PM


    We had the perfect opportunity to give a couple of youngsters ( at least) a run in the team after the huns won the league.





    Absolutely correct, so how can we bemoan lack of opportunity.




  9. quadrophenian on

    Paul – no mention of the very recent spate of defections from our yoof setup which – if I recall – saw several players opt to develop their careers with teams with more attractive development systems like Bayern?


    Liam Morrison, Barry Hepburn, Josh Adam etc etc – is it the player quality or the development quality that’s the issue? HH

  10. celticforever on

    Does any other season ticket holders remember that we were



    going to get some ADDED VALUE to our present season tickets



    since we paid full whack knowing that we would be paying it



    just to watch games on tv




    Maybe I have missed this ADDED VALUE but seems to me it has


    been conveniently forgotten by our club

  11. RIMTIMTIM on 6TH MAY 2021 12:07 PM



    The older generation voted for Brexit for the same reasons they have voted for the most right wing gov in my lifetime.

  12. Greenpinata


    There’s Lennoxtown the facility and there’s Lennoxtown the organisation.


    We have to have a training ground with all its facilities – and it’s running costs – so I can’t see any reason to move it.


    The issue is with the football management and coaching side – that’s where we don’t seem to get bang for our buck.

  13. Neil Lennon Brendan Rodgers & Gordon Strachan were not much interested in playing young players, They would rather play an older player out of position. Youth Development was not in their viewpoint. We ended up with 33 players in the first team squad. Other managers were different. Big Jock gave youth a go regularly.



    If we do not get matches for the Development squad then there is no point keeping them. We could sell them to clubs with a first refusal option.



    If Scotland will not agree to have colts sides then we could enter them in England, Wales or one of the irish leagues




    If you look hard enough you can find an excuse for anything!



    We definitely missed an opportunity there.

  15. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    5th tier is better than nothing, but contrast with Portugal where the B teams are in the 2nd tier.



    I still don’t know why we dumped the Reserve League.

  16. just like to wish my big son Paul67 a very happy birthday today.




    hw was born the day Wee Jimmy scored 2 to win us the league in 1976 and 19 days before our greatest victory in Lisbon



    happy birthday, Paul, Dad

  17. PAUL67



    Best wishes to you!



    Hope you have a great day!




  18. West Ham have joined Chelsea and a host of other clubs in the race for Brentford’s 25-year-old English striker Ivan Toney, who will cost £35m.



    and to think he wanted to join us and we ended up with that imposter ajeti who didn’t.

  19. quadrophenian on

    Forget youth, forget stars, forget loaners – just get the right guy in at the helm and give him his lead:


    ‘Training overall is also far more detailed. After the fun and games, there is a plan. They work on the team’s shape a lot, they do tactical work on how to beat the press, refine attacking drills and map out defensive transitions, things they never did before…’





    Another great read on how Tuchel turned Chelsea around with Clear Communication, Intensity and Repetition:



    PS: Nice one MARTIN42 – your son provides a very useful service to the Celtic community – you can be v proud.

  20. spikeysauldman on

    if the Huns win the league next year and also sort out some of their debt (to an extent) you’ll see the reserve league re-appearing.

  21. quadrophenian on

    Happy birthday Paul and thanks for this perfectly imperfect place you give us.

  22. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Interesting and a little bit depressing Pablo.



    Total punts made up on the spot.



    1. Set up academy / team / club in England


    – initially .. take whatever invite we get


    – bare bones infrastructure


    – manager, coach, 22 players (aged 17-20)


    – eventually finding their level (whatever that level is it will be higher/ more competitive than in Scotland)


    – same idea as Jock’s “colts to Juniors”


    – toughen them up


    – let them see what hard work looks like



    Downside – big financial commitment. £2m to set up / £1m p.a. to run



    2. Shrink existing setup in Scotland to match the above. One squad of 22 across 17 – 20 age range. Find a league – swap players across Scotland and England as required based on capacity requirements and developmental need.



    3. Structured Loan approach. Up to 22 players on loan across SPFL, Championship, EL1, (English Championship if we are lucky)



    4. Funnel top five into the first team SQUAD each year. Sell or release the rest of the older ones to clear the decks.



    5. Of that top five, long term target is one first team regular and one first team squad player. Subsequently sell the other three.



    I know (!) – Points 4 and 5 are brutal in their treatment those who don’t make it !

  23. bankiebhoy1 on

    Didn’t the huns fold the reserves league when they knew they werea busted flush financially?




    Not forgetting the delayed transmission.



    Over £800 it cost me to listen to a phone alert telling me the score BEFORE I saw it ‘live’.



    Added value…just like everything else from Celtic this season…utter garbage!

  25. celticforever on

    Agree VALE BHOY



    I dont think there was a single live game that


    the reception was blurred for large parts of the match



    HESGOAL had a far superior reception and I used


    that more than the Virtual Season Ticket

  26. Big Georges Fan Club - Hail, Hail, Wee Oscar on



    BGFC 12:11


    You’d be surprised……..






    Aye, well, you are probably right.



    I do like to hear about their woes, but it is the concern the article seems to be showing for them that really stuck out.



    I’d say gloating, smug satisfaction or outright celebration would be better reactions to any problem they might be facing.






  27. On this day I prepare to cast my vote for a ‘Mickey Mouse’ parliament, dependent on an increasing amount of financial & intellectual support from the UK,. We now live in a de-facto ‘one party devolved state’ corruptly presided over by Scotland’s answer to the Ceausescu’s.



    In the real world, here is an extract from an excellent analysis by Faisal Islam



    “The peak in unemployment has been sharply downgraded, from close to 8% to 5.5%, thanks to the furlough scheme extension, a stronger recovery, and an assumption that the long-term damage from the pandemic will be smaller than previously expected.



    That means about 700,000 expected job losses not materialising. If this does come to pass, it will far exceed even the most optimistic assumptions from the start of the pandemic crisis.



    The Bank of England assumes that vaccinated Britons feel safer, more confident and are now spending more of the savings arising from a year of lockdowns.”



    We in Scotland have a party in power that wants to talk about nothing other than IndyRef2 – why? – because there is neither the nous, nor, the interest, to address anything else…..and it serves a continuing ‘dog whistle’ to their cult-following.

  28. Happy Birthday Paul.



    Thanks for giving us this place and enabling me to stay in touch with Celtic and Glasgow since I moved over here.



    HH brother.

  29. jimbob71 & little Miss jimbob on

    Happy birthday Paul67.



    Have a great day in the snow!!

  30. QUADROPHENIAN, thank you. Not convinced those prospects have a better chance than any others of making it.



    Martin42, thanks!



    Philbhoy, many thanks.



    Big Jimmy, not so young!



    AN TEARMANN, thank you.



    Back to Basics, I can do more depressing right now, if I put my mind to it.



    Gene, thank you.



    AIPPLE, you’re very welcome, thanks.



    GREENPINATA, I’ll do my best, thanks!

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