By James Black
Rangers and Celtic have both been awarded ‘Elite’ status as part of the Scottish FA’s Project Brave restructuring of Academy football in Scotland, it has been confirmed.
The Old Firm giants are among weigh clubs to have been put in the top category alongside Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Hamilton.
The governing body confirmed on their official website it has grouped the remaining clubs into ‘Progressive’ and ‘Performance’ categories as it maps out the structure for all age group football up to under-18 level for the start of the 2018/19 season.
Elite level clubs will play each other three times a season and play Performance level clubs once, as well as participating in the Scottish FA Youth Cup.
Clubs were graded on a range of criteria including coaching staff and facilities.
The Elite tier clubs will continue to receive funding from the governing body with additional funding for reaching objectives set out by the Scottish FA.
Rangers withdrew from the SPFL Development League this season to embark on a year-long series of friendlies against top European sides in anticipation of Project Brave’s implementation next season.
As part of Project Brave, Colt teams could also be introduced in the SPFL to close the gap between Academy and first-team football for young players, but this first step is no doubt a huge stride in strengthening the output of rising stars.
In other Rangers team news, Fabio Cardoso has returned to training after suffering a nose injury