SCOTLAND’S lower league clubs have shown admirable innovation and great resourcefulness since the Covid-19 outbreak back in March.

Back in the summer, the Arbroath chairman Mike Caird outlined to me the enormous lengths the part-time Angus outfit had gone to in order to satisfy Holyrood protocols and generate much-needed income.

Hearing that the venerable Gayfield Park institution were providing their season ticket holders with free online streaming of matches and offering other supporters the chance to watch games on pay-per-view TV made you optimistic they, and others of the same size and stature, could survive this crisis. ‘Mon the Red Lichties!

Unfortunately, it would appear that archaic and parochial attitudes remain very much entrenched at many other provincial outposts of the beautiful game.

The reaction to the plan to introduce Celtic and Rangers Colts teams into League Two in certain quarters has been sad and depressing.

The proposal, which is being spearheaded by Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson, would see the Glasgow giants’ B sides join an expanded 16 team fourth tier next term along with two teams from both the Highland League and the Lowland League.

Their opponents will receive £250,000 a year, and £1m over four years, to distribute among themselves if the move gets the green light. Furthermore, the Ibrox and Parkhead clubs have pledged to purchase at least 200 tickets for every away game they are involved in.

Should Celtic or Rangers fare well enough to win promotion – and the fact the latter reached the semi-final of the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup last season suggests they have every chance of flourishing – they would not be allowed to progress higher than League Two.

It is very much a work in progress, the fine details still have to be thrashed out, but the Championship has been suggested as a “glass ceiling”.

Approving this idea would drag us kicking and screaming into the 21st Century at long last. Reserve teams have long been able to compete in the lower leagues of major footballing nations such as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

The likes of Atletico Madrid B, Bayern Munich II, Benfica B, Jong Ajax, Juventus Under-23s, Monaco B and Real Madrid Castilla are prohibited from competing in the top flight of their respective countries.

Craig Mulholland, the head of the Rangers youth academy, has been a passionate advocate of colts sides being involved in the senior set-up for some time. He believes the benefits would be enormous. And not just for his club either, for the sport here as a whole.

Speaking back in April, he said: “It is critical to the best young talent, particularly at Rangers, but actually from a Scottish football point of view. It is not something you need to prove any more. You just look at the success of it in so many other countries. It is in my opinion an absolute no brainer.”

The most exciting prospects at Auchenhowie and Lennoxtown can certainly be farmed out to clubs to gain invaluable experience. But there are advantages to keeping them in house and overseeing their development on a daily basis.

“In an ideal world, we would have a B team where we can have the benefit of what we believe is a really high-performance environment at Rangers now, but also with the benefit of the fact that they are playing competitive football against men every Saturday,” said Mulholland.

A working group will present their findings to the SFA Professional Game Board next month. If the blueprint meets with their approval then it will require 11 Premiership clubs, eight Championship clubs and 15 League One and League Two clubs to back it. There is, though, no guarantee it will get through.

You would think League Two directors would be rubbing their hands at the prospect of the Celtic and Rangers kids coming on board. Their involvement would increase gate receipts, crowds, competitiveness and interest in a division that had an average attendance of just 486 in the 2019/20 season at a time of huge financial uncertainty.

Alas, many are opposed. Stuart Brown, the Stirling Albion chairman, fears it would lead to increased policing and stewarding costs. He thinks it is unfair to those in the pyramid structure with ambitions to climb higher. He has also been informed that some fans will boycott matches in protest. He is not alone in having misgivings.

Iain McMenemy, the Stenhousemuir chairman who is a member of the working group, has revealed that some clubs are wary of the “baggage” that Celtic and Rangers will bring. That is a valid concern.

Rangers Women were subjected to sectarian and misogynist abuse at a SWPL match against Celtic Women at the K Park in East Kilbride last season. There could easily be similar scenes at colts’ games in the lower leagues. Proper safeguards would require to be put in place.

Hopefully, though, there are enough forward-thinking and open-minded owners and officials who recognise the many advantages there will be for them and for Scottish football and this long overdue plan gets the go-ahead.