THE SPFL have confirmed that two Reserve Leagues will operate during the 2018/19 campaign.

A total of 27 clubs will participate across the two tiers following the scrapping of the Development League at the end of last season.

Fixtures for each club are expected to be announced in the coming days and the divisions will start next month as young players are pitched into a more competitive environment to enhance their progression through the ranks.

A statement from the SPFL read: “The Reserve Leagues, which replace the Development Leagues, have been introduced following discussions at the Competitions Working Group over the last 18 months.

“The Competitions Working Group, which is attended by Malky Mackay (Scottish FA Performance Director), representatives from all four SPFL Divisions and was previously chaired by Ian Maxwell, was of the view that it would benefit the development of young players if they were playing alongside more experienced players on a more regular basis.

“As such, there are no age restrictions with regard to participation in the Reserve Leagues (other than a minimum age of 16).

“These changes complement recent amendments to loan regulations which provide, generally, that any player loaned out by an SPFL club is eligible to return and play in non-first team football for the lending club.

“The first division of the Reserve League comprises 18 clubs, who will play each other once for a total of 17 matches across the season. Fixtures will usually be scheduled for Monday afternoons.

“Reserve League 2 is made up of nine clubs, who will play each other once at home and once away for a total of 16 matches across the season. Fixtures will take place in midweek evenings.

“Divisional Reserve League Cups will be played to provide additional games during the season, with the format mirroring the Betfred Cup in that any drawn group games will proceed to penalties with an additional bonus point available. Further details on the cup competitions will be confirmed in due course.”