Aberdeen's Milne welcomes swift return of Rangers, Hibs and Hearts

By Jim SpenceBBC Sport
Aberdeen v Hibernian
Milne looks forward to Aberdeen locking horns with Hibs, Hearts and Rangers again in the league

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne is looking forward to the return of Rangers, Hearts and Hibernian to Scottish football's top tier.

But, even in their Premiership absence, he argues measures made by clubs to tackle debt and invest in youth development augur well for the game.

"Without any doubt, none of us want to see three of our biggest clubs not being in the top league," he said.

"We all want to see them back as quickly as possible."

The Ibrox side, Hearts and Alan Stubbs' Hibs outfit are in the Championship this season, with the former having worked their way back up from the fourth tier in Scotland and the Edinburgh teams having been demoted at the end of last season.

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne
"We all recognise that a central plank of all our clubs is to have successful youth development going forward."

Automatic promotion is guaranteed for the league winners, with a possible second promotion spot available by dint of the play-offs.

Aberdeen, meanwhile, look to be prospering under manager Derek McInnes, a Scottish Cup defeat to Dundee aside. They are fourth in the Premiership, in a League Cup semi-final against Dundee United and last season their turnover increased from £7.85m to £11.16m.

Further, on Monday that will remove the club's debt of about £14.5m, partly in return for equity for investors Willie and Elaine Donald.

Other clubs, such as Kilmarnock and Dundee United,

"We talk the game down far too much in Scotland," Milne told BBC Scotland.

"We've gone through a very challenging period and by and large the clubs have responded, we've brought the restructure into the Scottish game.

"I think the game in Scotland is probably in a better position now, or has the potential to be in a much better position going forward now that most of the clubs have dealt with the debt issues they have got."

And he added: "There's been investment in youth in the last eight to 10 years and some of these things are starting to come to fruition.

"They've got strong youth development systems in place. We all recognise that a central plank of all our clubs is to have successful youth development going forward.

"I genuinely believe we've created something that we can build on, but we all need to start being a bit more positive in driving the game forward."

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