Celtic: Ronny Deila backs B teams to aid youth development

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland
Interview - Ronny Deila

Celtic manager Ronny Deila believes allowing top clubs to field B teams in the lower senior leagues would aid the development of young talent.

Debate has followed Scotland's failure to reach another major tournament.

Deila stressed he did not have all the answers but felt the introduction of 'colt' teams might help.

"I have seen that in Spain, how they develop players, they have done it for many years and now in Norway, it is very good," said Deila.

"You play games that are important. Of course that is a big change, but you look around in Europe and see what's happening, there are a lot of positive things going.

"If we have our best second team then we can maybe challenge for the Championship, maybe in the second division, but it would be very good to put young players into that environment and play important matches in good stadiums with games that really count."

Deila said he would restrict B teams to a maximum of four over-21 players to ensure youth was allowed to flourish.

The idea is not a new one and was most recently mooted at senior level by the former chief executive of the old Scottish Football League, David Longmuir.

He asked clubs to consider allowing Celtic and Rangers to field 'colt' teams in the SFL, but the idea was superseded by league reconstruction.

Real Madrid Castilla celebrate against Barakaldo
Real Madrid Castilla are one of the top-flight B teams playing in Spain's Segunda Division B

Deila says he has not discussed his thoughts with anyone outwith Celtic but underlined his view that it was important to be open to innovation.

"When I started at Stromsgodset, we were in the First Division, like the Championship, and a team in the fourth division," he continued.

"When I left, they had one team in the Premier League, one team in the second division and now also one in the third division, so you can put the players into the right level. It is about getting experience earlier.

"I don't say this is the answer to how we are going to get better, but it is a suggestion and I have seen how good it can be.

"I don't want to come here and think I know everything about football.

"There are a lot of positive things in Scottish football, but I think it is important to get new ideas.

"That is hard to do here. When you play 61 games over 11 months, how can you have time to take two or three days or a week to get new experiences?

"You are working hard at your club every day, so it is hard to lift your head and look over the borders and see what is happening around."