Rangers and Celtic B-team project gets second year vote from Lowland League clubs

A ‘comfortable majority’ of fifth-tier clubs voted 11-4 in favour of ‘guest clubs’ being admitted to the set-up for a second season, a year after the highly contentious plan first got the green-light.

The latest vote leaves the door open for the Old Firm pair to return under the same ruling which barred them from promotion or access to the pyramid play-off against the winner of the Highland League.

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Tony Weston of Rangers and Dane Murray of Celtic have both featured for their respective B teams in the Lowland League this season. (Photo by Craig Brown / SNS Group)

A Lowland League statement said: “A comfortable majority of 11-4 indicated a preference for their involvement, having taken two weeks to weigh up a presentation on the topic.

“While conscious it is, understandably, a divisive and emotive subject, the overriding feeling is their presence has been of benefit in a commercial sense while there are promising early indications of young, emerging Scottish talents benefiting from early exposure to senior football in a competitive environment.

“It is important to note that guest clubs will not be eligible for promotion. Nor will they hamper the ability of clubs to be promoted to or relegated from the Lowland League.

“This has been a democratic process, with conversation and debate encouraged before any outcome was established.

“The board of the SLFL, and member clubs, remain committed to making a positive impact within our communities and Scottish football as a whole, and will maintain an open mind to any initiatives that support those aims.”

Bonnyrigg Rose have already won this year’s Lowland title and will face the Highland League winners – either Brora Rangers or Fraserburgh – for a pyramid play-off and shot at SPFL League Two. Their trophy will be presented at New Dundas Park following their match with East Stirlingshire on Saturday.

Celtic B are currently second, level on points with East Kilbride FC, with Rangers three points behind in fourth but with a game in hand on both.

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