Shire board went with what the supporters wanted, says Fleming

East Stirlingshire and Bo’ness United will face off against Rangers and Celtic’s colts’ sides next season after Scottish Lowland Football League clubs voted to continue that pilot scheme – despite originally insisting it would last for one campaign only.

By Ben Kearney
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 12:10 am
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2022, 12:10 am

The fifth-tier league’s member clubs voted 11-4 in favour of the Old Firm B teams joining their ranks for a second year running.

That vote means it is almost certain that the Glasgow sides will play Shire and Bo’ness United once again when next season kicks off despite previous promises to the contrary.

Both clubs return under the same ruling barring them from promotion or access to the pyramid play-off against the winner of the Highland League.

Shire's Robbie Young battles for possession in one of their meetings this campaign with Rangers B (Picture: Scott Louden)

Shire were one of only four s ides to vote against the motion, saying they had let their supporters decide.

Club director Ian Fleming told the Herald: “Last time around, we voted for both sides joining the league as we felt it would really boost the stature of the division.

“However, at the time it was a really rushed call, with only a few days from finding out about it to having to decide.

“This time around, we felt it was only right to ask our season ticket holders what they wanted and we sent out an email, not asking for a definitive vote but for their general views.

“What we got back was consistent and made it clear that our supporter base were strongly against it, so we went with what our fans wanted.

“We understand the benefits they bring to the league and in board meetings we had reasons to vote for and against, but we solely went with the supporters’ call.”

A league spokesperson added: “This has been a democratic process, with conversation and debate encouraged before any outcome was established.

“A comfortable majority of 11-4 indicated a preference for their involvement.

“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.

“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 or relegated from the league.”