Kennedy a big fan of newfound Colt side in Lowland League

There has been raging debate for years throughout the footballing world as to whether ‘B’ sides in domestic football eventually benefit the affiliate club in the long run. Barcelona and Real Madrid have successfully implemented such a regime, whereas the awfully named Papa John’s trophy in English football has failed to do so; with many of the under 23 sides in that competition being mocked for their not only their failure to perform, but taking the integrity away from the tournament.

Celtic have recently implemented such a structure throughout the pyramid of Scottish football. With their youth side almost too good to end up in Leagues One and Two of the Scottish footballing pyramid – as seen by Luca Connell’s performances at nearby Queen’s Park – there was a genuinely burning need for a ‘B’ side to be accessible for Celtic, and they have finally got their wish by entering at the fifth tier.

Current caretaker boss John Kennedy appears to be a huge advocate of the movement. Having been in various roles amongst the backroom staff at Celtic for over a decade, Kennedy is well equipped to give his opinion on whether or not the development of his former youngsters would be better served in a senior league, as opposed to dominating the youth leagues Scotland has to offer year in, year out.

Speaking to The Scotsman, Kennedy said: “The Lowland League has provided the opportunity, so that is better than we currently have. Is it ideal? You’d love to go and play in the lower leagues and get up to the Championship or whatever it might be, like other clubs do [in other nations]. But that’s not there for us at the moment, so this is a good start point to get the Colts up and running.

Longer term the hope is that develops better players for the national team as well.

“In terms of what it provides, not just in this season with the challenges of covid but even last season, some of our young players could go three and four weeks without a game. That’s not an elite environment for development.”

Photo: Stephen Dobson PSI

“For a number of years now there has been an inconsistency in what goes between youths and the first team. We have tried different things, different age groups, different conditions around older and younger players, whatever it might, but there has been no games programmes that have provided what we need. Longer term the hope is that develops better players for the national team as well.”

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