Lowland League's colts decision frustrates north east Fife sides
Although sitting at completely different ends of the football spectrum, the decision to parachute Celtic and Rangers colt teams into the Lowland League is drawing comparisons with the ill-fated European Super League.
The fifth tier Lowland League this week confirmed that, following a vote taken by member clubs, it will allow the Glasgow Premiership pair to enter ‘B’ sides into next season’s competition.
The move has been supported in some quarters but roundly criticised in others.
Sides in the East of Scotland Football League, the nation’s sixth tier, have been among the most vocal, saying it makes a mockery of the pyramid system to allow two clubs to simply enter the division.
Among them are Newburgh, a club who left the junior ranks to join the EoSFL set-up with the ambition of climbing the leagues through points won on the park.
A club spokesman told fifetoday.co.uk it was “very disappointing” to see this unfolding within the Scottish league structure.
The spokesman said: “There really seems to be momentum behind the pyramid structure which is being formed across Scotland.
"The expansion of the south, east, west and the new midland leagues are providing a structured route through the tiers for clubs and players to aspire to.
“The outcry almost worldwide about the recent European Super League plan shows how emotive the world of football is.
"This proposal, on a much smaller scale, has similarities with clubs being welcomed into a league structure where they have no prospect of promotion and no threat of relegation.
"We would question how this can be conducive in a competitive league?”
The Lowland League says the decision to allow the colts sides in will be for one year only and that it remains “fully committed” to the integrity of the pyramid.
The decision to null and void the EoSFL last season means no champion club was put forward to join the Lowland League.
However, that didn’t settle Newburgh’s frustration.
"In our opinion, it should be the governing bodies, who have allowed this to take place with no respect for the effect it will have on the pyramid structure below, who have questions to answer.”
Fellow EoSFL side, St Andrews United, say they don’t have an issue with the leagues developing and evolving – but they believe it must be done fairly and with the lower league pyramid respected.
A club spokesman said: “In principle, we have no objection to new teams joining the pyramid, including reserve sides.
"There are plenty of examples of reserve sides playing lower league football throughout the last 100 years, both in this country and abroad.
"However, any new side must start at the bottom, otherwise the integrity of the whole pyramid system goes out the window.”