Peterhead manager Jim McInally has revealed Celtic’s head of youth could not list a single benefit for League Two clubs if Old Firm colt teams join the league.
It emerged at the weekend that Celtic and Rangers are trying to force through plans which would see their colts, or under-20s teams, play in League Two from next season.
The Old Firm clubs believe it would benefit their youngsters and enhance youth development, and have been sounding out League Two clubs in recent weeks to try to gain support.
However, McInally has revealed that Chris McCart, head of youth at Parkhead, and the man charged with trying to make these proposals a reality for the Hoops, could not name a single benefit of the idea for League Two clubs.
Blue Toon boss McInally said: “Chris McCart phoned me the week before last and I told him I have absolutely no time for the whole idea.
“I don’t see what any League Two club would have to benefit with having them in the league.
“I said to Chris McCart ‘what benefit has the colts coming into League Two got for Peterhead?’
“And he admitted to me none – and that sums it up, that there is nothing for the League Two clubs in this proposal.
“I would like to clarify that this is my opinion and not the opinion of the club, because that is something they will need to discuss.
“I don’t see why we should need to try to do Celtic and Rangers’ work for them – where we are trying to improve their kids.
“Well, what benefit is that to any lower league club?
“In my opinion they are bullies and they are trying to bully their way into the league.
“I don’t mind admitting I’m a Celtic supporter, but I have absolutely no intention of trying to help them bring on their youngsters ahead of everybody else’s youngsters.
“It’s wrong that it’s just Celtic and Rangers, but it would still be wrong if it was Aberdeen and Dundee United trying to do it or Hearts and Hibs.
“It totally demeans the league, them coming in.
“As much as people support Celtic and Rangers, the people who support Peterhead, Montrose, Clyde, Elgin and others support their team every bit as much and every bit as passionately as Celtic and Rangers supporters support their team.
“It really annoys me that Scottish football can’t see through this – for me this should have been blown out without even getting this far.”
For the idea to be passed it would need at least 22 of the SPFL’s 42 clubs to vote for it.
It was reported that seven out of 10 League Two clubs are apparently in favour of it after a meeting held last week with McCart and Rangers’ development chief, Craig Mulholland.
McInally is not convinced by the reports of the meeting and added: “I know that is being claimed but I don’t think it has happened.
“But they have been contacting clubs and I have heard there are chairmen who think it is a wonderful idea.
“For me that is who the supporters have got to put pressure on – the boards.
“To hear people are in favour of it is really, really worrying.
“It’s shocking to think that’s how small-minded the powers that be are at football clubs in League Two.”
League Two clubs are being offered £15,000 a season, with the Hoops and Gers promising to buy 250 tickets at £10 a ticket each visit.
McInally believes that cash won’t have much impact on League Two clubs and reckons if colts teams did play in League Two they would lose regularly, as has been the case in the Irn-Bru Cup in the last two seasons.
He added: “I just think it would be really small minded of League Two clubs to accept such a paltry offer which basically turns into £15,000 each over a season.
“I guarantee that at Peterhead we would lose support if the proposals go through. I would hope supporters of all League Two clubs would boycott their clubs if they think this is the way ahead.
“This isn’t healthy for lower league clubs.
“I don’t know what it has to do with Project Brave – which it’s apparently attached to. People have been quoted saying it would back-up Project Brave – who cares about Project Brave?
“At the end of the day if Celtic and Rangers want to improve Scottish football they should stop signing so many foreign players for a start.
“They should cut down the amount of young players they are bringing into their clubs.
“A key thing for me is that if they want their young players to play against men, they need to remember they also need to play with men.
“That’s not going to happen with the colts in League Two.
“The Challenge Cup in my opinion has been an embarrassment for the colts teams, they’ve been beaten time after time.
“I said to Chris McCart that I understand he has a job to do
“But certainly I will do my best to get support from supporters of all League Two clubs to make sure they give their boards a hard time if they approve this.
“I wouldn’t think £15,000 will change any club’s financial situation because I’m sure somewhere along the line they’ll lose £15,000 if they support this idea.”
As a former youth coach with Celtic, McInally has experience of developing players.
And he believes a return to a reserve league, where young players play alongside senior pros, is the way forward.
“I’m speaking from experience and my opinion is that the whole youth system needs to change,” he said.
“And I don’t think them trying to bully their way into League Two is the answer to the problems Celtic and Rangers have.
“In my opinion they need to get back to a proper reserve league, and by that I mean a reserve league where your young players are mixing and playing with your senior players.
“Chris McCart told me he didn’t think that would be possible – he never gave an argument on why he didn’t think that would be possible – because at the end of the day the reserve league was stopped because it was costing clubs money.
“But I’m pretty sure if Celtic and Rangers want to throw their money about they could do it by helping to organise a proper reserve league.
“Celtic can only play 11 first-team players on a Saturday and they’ve got a squad of about 25.
“So they have plenty of players who could go and give their experience and play with their younger players.”