Celtic WILL be fielding a side in the Scottish Lowland League next season after more discussions and a vote.
Celtic and The Rangers we’re both already scheduled to play in the league again but Hearts putting forward a proposal out a spanner in the works. The three SPFL sides stuck together and made it clear they wanted Hearts in the Lowland league for next season.
This proposal has now been voted through and all three SPFL clubs will have representation in the league.
Here are some of the strict rules the clubs must adhere to:
– Celtic, Heart of Midlothian and Rangers will join the Lowland League for season 2022/23, creating a 19-team league for one season only. This will result in a 36-game fixture calendar.
– Guest clubs are required to field seven players eligible for Scotland national teams in the starting line-up.
– Each guest club will provide funding to help develop the league and its clubs.
– The Scottish FA will lead on a review of the pyramid structure, with recommendations proposed ahead of the 2023/24 season.
Here are the thoughts of the SFA, SPFL and SLFL chiefs. [Scottish FA]
Ian Maxwell, Chief Executive Scottish FA: “We are delighted that the Lowland League clubs have approved the participation of three guest clubs for the forthcoming season. The Scottish FA supports the principle of elite player development and particularly providing opportunities for talented players in the key transition years from 17 to 21.
“The Scottish FA will oversee a discussion in parallel to propose and implement a long-term plan with the objectives of optimising the pyramid, which has been a resounding success in Scottish football, harnessing the player pathway and accelerating the development of the country’s most talented young players through the national youth teams to the full international stage.”
Thomas Brown, Chairman, Lowland League: “We were always open to the inclusion of guest clubs for a further season given the successful player development outcomes from last year’s pilot. We want to be a modern and progressive league and we are excited to be playing our part in the eco system that develops Scotland’s talent.
“Importantly, we now look forward to working with the Scottish FA, the SPFL and our friends in the pyramid to create some new solutions to some existing challenges which will provide a bright future at all levels of our game.”
Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive, SPFL: “It is hugely encouraging to see such a joined-up and collaborative approach being adopted in such a vital area of our game.
“There are few more exciting things in football than watching the development of home-grown talent and it’s extremely encouraging that the Lowland League has agreed to assist our clubs on a temporary basis for Season 2022/23.
Tommy McIntyre’s side did well in the league last season and has spoken about the value of playing in the league and the adjustment for some of the younger players. We won’t really see how much this will benefit Celtic until we see how many players begin to filter through to the first team.
It’ll be interesting to see if anyone makes the step up this pre-season.
Ultimately – it’s better for these players to be getting game time rather than sitting in their hands.