SCOTTISH football doesn’t have a good record when it comes to borrowing names from other countries. The rebranding of the leagues as the Scottish Premiership, Championship, League One and League Two, for example, was about as popular as when those sweeties changed their name to Starburst. Sorry, but it is still the SPL and Opal Fruits to most folk.

So, straight out the gate, the idea of Colt teams entering the league system was one that seemed to bristle with many people, although not just for their cringeworthy name.

There is something to be said for maintaining tradition in Scottish football. Yes, there are credible arguments about the tail wagging the dog in our game, with a chairman of Auchenshoogle Rovers or the like always seeming to be on the board of the SFA, but I believe that the historic clubs lower down the leagues should be respected and the integrity of the game protected at that level.

While the big teams in major countries have ‘Colt’ (shudder) teams playing down the divisions, the prospect of Celtic or Rangers parachuting a team into the lower leagues in Scotland was always one I was lukewarm about, and tended to side with the clubs that railed against the idea.

However, the recent prospect of a fifth tier being introduced to Scottish football containing a mix of Highland League, Lowland League and Colt teams has pricked the ear, and is an idea I feel is worthwhile exploring.

It was interesting reading Rangers director of football Mark Allen’s take on this in his exclusive interviews with my colleague Chris Jack earlier in the week in these pages, as he floated the notion of four youth sides dropping in at that level. I would even take it a step further, and allow all top-flight sides the option. Why should the big teams monopolise the opportunity, when the likes of Hamilton and Motherwell have had such great success with their own youth teams recently?

It was while discussing the problems in youth development in Scotland with Motherwell under-20s manager Stephen Craigan that my views on Colt teams playing down the divisions were turned around a little.

Craigan was excited and enthused at that time about the prospect of his young players going up against Ross County in the Irn-Bru Cup after seeing off League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers in the previous round. It was because his players would get the chance to line up against real professionals. Fully developed men.

Fir Park assistant manager Keith Lasley echoed those thoughts during the week, believing that the young players who subsequently went on to lose narrowly to the Championship side last Saturday would have learned more in that match than they would by playing 20 reserve games.

For as long as I can remember, the solution being put forward to the problem of Scottish players falling off a cliff between the ages of 16 and 21 was the return of a reserve league, where young boys were thrown in against seasoned professionals and told to sink or swim.

That move in the summer was therefore welcomed, but it has turned out be different from the development league in name only. The matches are played with all the intensity of a kickabout in the garden with your kids.

The SPFL take a kicking at times, and deservedly so, but bringing the youth teams into the Irn-Bru Cup has been one of their success stories. The more our young players are exposed to real competition, where the games matter and there is something riding on the outcome, the better.

If putting the youth teams into direct competition with teams such as East Kilbride or Cove Rangers can help them to become battle-hardened and aid their development, then bring it on. You can even call them Colts, if you must.