Noel Whelan believes that having Rangers and Celtic ‘B’ teams in the lower leagues is a “fantastic idea” for Scottish football.
The former Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, claims that the unprecedented move would give the Glasgow giants’ youth prospects a chance to prove their worth in “real football”.
The BBC report that a proposal tabled by Rangers, which would have seen the leagues revamped to a 14-18-18 format, failed to get enough backing from other SPFL sides in a meeting on Wednesday.
The Gers’ suggestion included both them and Celtic fielding reserve sides, with an age limit of 21, in the third tier.
Having seen Premier League sides have youth sides play in the EFL Trophy in England, Whelan believes the move would have been welcomed by their lower league rivals.
Whelan told Football Insider: “We’ve seen it with cup games this year, under-23s into the cup games, it gives them the opportunity to showcase themselves and get that game time and experience they need in real football, rather than under-23s which is completely different.
“I think it’s a great idea, they must have some great young players coming through that want to become stronger, fitter, more confident to know they can break into the first team.
“It’s a great way of showcasing themselves to the manager in real games rather than in friendly games or under-23 games. I think it’s a fantastic idea and I think it would be welcomed by the leagues they go into.”
Celtic already have a number of youth graduates in their senior side, with the likes of Callum McGregor and James Forrest mainstays for Neil Lennon.
Steven Gerrard has used several hot prospects during his time in charge at Ibrox, with the likes of Nathan Patterson, Josh McPake and Kai Kennedy featuring this season.
In other Rangers news, Gerrard has been tipped to be wowed after a major transfer development.