AN idea which was put forward by the legendary Jock Stein more than FIVE DECADES ago could come to life next season.
Celtic iconic manager put forward a proposal in the mid-sixties for the Hoops reserve team to play in the old Second Division.
Stein was looking for a platform for the up-and-coming Quality Street Gang of gifted youngsters such as Kenny Dalglish, Davie Hay, Danny McGrain, George Connelly and Lou Macari to be tested at a higher level than they could expect in the Reserve League.
There were also experienced players such as Joe McBride, Charlie Gallagher, Willie O’Neill and others who would have benefited from a step up in a more challenging environment.
However, the powers-that-be at the time jettisoned Big Jock’s proposal – which would have included playing in midweek or Fridays – although it appealed to clubs in the lower division who accepted a Celtic team would attract bigger crowds and bring in more revenue.
Amazingly, there is now a scheme to introduce two colt teams to the SPFL – the Hoops at the forefront = that could be put in place in the summer.
It is understood representatives from all 10 League Two teams recently met with Celtic development chief Chris McCart, among others, to discuss a two-year pilot scheme.
And, although the move would require a vote and majority approval from all 42 league clubs, it is reckoned at least seven of the 10 who will be directly affected by the plan have given their encouragement.
The proposed plan would involve a two-year trial period which would see League Two grow to a 12-team set-up.
Neither team would be allowed to win promotion or be relegated during the pilot. If they finished top or bottom or in any of the play-off places, the senior team in the next place down would automatically take that spot.
And the new clubs wouldn’t benefit financially from the distribution of funds to the league.
There is also an offer for both colt teams to play all games away from home and the champions are thought to have already sounded out Morton about the availability of Cappielow.
Teams would have to name a squad at the start of the season – an Under-21 pool with two permanent over-age players – and there could be no moves between the parent clubs and colt sides outwith the transfer windows.
Aberdeen, Hibs, Hearts and Sevco Rangers could fill the second slot, but, as Jock Stein predicted all those years ago, Celtic will be the main contenders if the scheme gets the go-ahead.
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