Ross County manager Derek Adams wants reserve team return

Ross County boss Derek Adams believes Scotland's top teams would benefit from the re-introduction of reserve teams.

Adams feels the current under-20s league does not offer enough opportunities for senior players who are not featuring in the first team.

And the County boss does not believe a return to reserve teams would limit first-team chances for youngsters.

"Many clubs are playing youngsters in first teams anyway," he told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound programme.

"That would still be the case when they play in reserve team football."

Everybody would like to have an under-20 league, a reserve team league and a first team but finances dictate that it's not possible

Derek Adams Ross County manager

Participation in the reserve league among top-flight clubs fell towards the end of the previous decade.

The Scottish FA's Dutch performance director Mark Wotte introduced a model similar to that adopted in the Netherlands shortly after taking up his post.

The current under-20s division came into force in 2012, despite opposition which led to then Dunfermline chairman John Yorkston and former Inverness manager Terry Butcher voicing their concerns.

Though some over-age players can feature in the under-20s, it is primarily used as a vehicle for teenagers to eventually graduate to the senior squad.

"We've got under-20s coming to the end of their apprenticeships and then they become first-team players," explained Adams.

"That comes into a first-team budget and then we have to make decisions on say a 19-year-old, where maybe in a couple of seasons' time, he might be able to go and play in the first team.

"We're cutting short a player's career because of finances. Everybody would like to have an under-20 league, a reserve team league and a first team but finances dictate that it's not possible.

"We have a squad of players that don't play week in, week out and then we have a squad of players at under-20 level who are maybe 15, 16 players that are not ready to play in the first team. There becomes too many players at your football club."

Adams, who started his career at Aberdeen, feels a reserve team featuring a mixture of experienced and inexperienced players would ultimately benefit the latter.

"I was brought up playing reserve team football where senior players helped me," he added.

"I'm talking about guys like [former Aberdeen players] Alex McLeish, Stephen Wright, Jim Bett, Theo Ten Cate.

"These were the players that really helped me have an understanding of the game."