The opposition to the blueprint submitted by Rangers for colt teams to feature in the bottom tier of the league next season was depressingly predictable.

Within a few hours of its unveiling, Sonstrust, a Dumbarton supporters group, had issued a statement condemning the plan, saying that it would “devalue the lower tier into little more than a development league for the top two sides in Scotland”.

Another vocal critic was Jim McInally, the Peterhead manager, who was once a youth coach at Celtic. McInally claimed in an interview with the BBC on Sunday that “Scottish football isn’t here for the betterment of Celtic and Rangers and to develop their players – it’s up to Celtic and Rangers to develop their own players.”

For the record, there were four players in McInally’s squad last season who started their youth careers at Celtic.

There can be no doubt that there were flaws in Rangers’ plan. The midst of a crisis is not the time to usher in radical changes, especially so when they create the impression that you are only proposing them to further your own [and, somewhat surreally, Celtic’s] ambitions and when they come with a financial sweetener – what the Dumbarton fans viewed to be ‘a bribe’ – attached.

If we were to play devil’s advocate, we might say that dismissing the idea of colt teams out of hand looks shortsighted. If nothing else, it obscures the bigger-picture mentality behind them.

Let’s ignore Celtic and Rangers for a second and analyse the reasons why colt teams are favoured across Europe as a means to better develop young players, as opposed to loaning them out.

The first reason is continuity. The player remains under the watch of coaches they know and who understand the club ethos. Send them to a club with an inferior coach or one with a set way of playing and you lose control; your developmental work runs the risk of regressing.

Secondly, the ‘senior’ club is able to call on those players who impress should injuries occur mid-season, and thus there is a clear pathway to the first team. Of course, the benefits to those clubs are immeasurable. Craig Mulholland, the head of the Rangers youth academy, said recently that his young players took huge strides in their run to the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup semi-final earlier this season – their ultimate undoing, at the hands of Championship promotion chasers and Scottish Cup quarter-finalists Inverness Caledonian Thistle demonstrated to Mulholland just what could be achieved by pitting young players against opponents who had something to play for.

Thirdly, the kids are given the opportunity to test themselves against experienced pros and semi-pros without the fear of failure that playing in front of a massive crowd or television cameras might bring.

No less than Pep Guardiola managed Barcelona B prior to his appointment in charge of the first team at Camp Nou. He would later recall the experience with huge enthusiasm saying: “Definitely. Definitely, it was so good for me. It was good because I had one game a week, I had time to analyse my process, and I did not have spotlights, I did not have media . . . it was the best school.”

During his time in Spain’s lower reaches, where B teams are prevented from rising to the top flight and drop out of their given league should the first team suffer relegation into it, Guardiola was able to experiment. For example, Sergio Busquets was used in a No.10 role and Pep learned the principles of his coaching style, concluding that if it could work on artificial pitches, often the surface of choice, it would do so anywhere. He has been quoted as saying that he would remind himself of this matter whenever doubts would arise about the radical style he would attempt to implement during grander projects.

Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and just about every homegrown player to come out of La Masia cut their teeth in the Barca B team. If it is good enough for these guys, playing in the best league in the world, then why is it not good enough for Scotland?

There is a wider aim than strengthening domestic giants, however. Scotland continues to tread water at international level, apathy in the national team is at an all-time high, the theory behind colt teams is that they are for the greater good, and as such local debates about boycotts or attendance figures are deemed irrelevant.

There is a pattern, here. Scotland’s system has failed, yet it is no surprise that in Portugal, who won EURO 2016, and Germany, who won the 2014 World Cup, there are colt teams. That’s three of the most prolific producers of young talent all employing the same method of youth development.

Academy coaches’ biggest challenge is managing the jump from the Under-19 and Under-21 levels to the first team and there is no obvious way to do that. A solution might be the return of the reserve league which was scrapped to guarantee young players were given more game time. But that has not happened since and, in any case, the reserve league lacked the necessary competition with teams often stuffed full of journeymen returning from injury.

So why is Scotland different? At face value, it appears to be the same fear of change that has stunted the pyramid system from the outset with League 2, and to a lesser extent League 1, clubs worried about the rise of cash-rich and ambitious Highland and Lowland League outfits.

But there are practical limitations, too. The pyramid system would dictate that Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen or even Motherwell B teams would have to start at the very bottom and then it would come down to whether the aforementioned Highland and Lowland Leagues would be prepared to accept them.

Meanwhile, McInally is well-placed to understand the arguments in favour of colt teams but he refutes the idea that the lower leagues should be used as a petri dish for experiments by the big two and others. Why is this the case, though? As he points out, himself, the bigger teams are filled with players that are not going to make it at the top level. So wouldn’t it make sense for these ‘jersey fillers’ to have 50-100 games in the lower leagues so that when they are inevitably released they are more ready to provide immediate contributions to whichever new team they end up at?

As ever in Scottish football, anything that remotely resembles innovation is treated with suspicion, even when evidence to the contrary suggests there should at least be an adult conversation around the issue.