"There are all sort of issues to resolve to make it as good as possible. We have to comply and make observations as we go along."

- Brian McClair,

Summary of Under-21 changes

15/08/2012 11:02, Report by Adam Marshall
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McClair handles changes

"Because it's time-bound in the sense that they decided they wanted to make a change, there wasn't enough opportunity for people in Academies internally to interact with other Academies to discuss whether we think it's a good idea or not. That's where it is now and we'll go through the process but, all the way along, they'd said Category One clubs, when they're decided, would then decide what sort of games programme it is or at least have some discussions on it. So, hopefully, there will be a lot of discussion with the people who actually do these jobs as the administrators' opinion has to count as well because they're the ones trying to organise these games and it's hard."

The groups are the same for the age-groups until the second phase of action towards the end of the year and there have been some changes to the rules, particularly with the scrapping of the Reserves league.

"The groups are exactly the same until the first weekend of December and then, after that, it's even more complicated as it depends on where we finish in those sections," explained the former Scotland international. "Then there will be another group so there is going to be a games programme with a number of games right the way through.

"For us, it's pretty critical for Paul McGuinness and Warren Joyce to be involved in deciding things as they're actually doing the job so we'll discover what they think is the best idea of how the games programme fits in, how it's refereed, do we have a code of conduct for coaches, is it going to be mentored? There are all sort of issues to resolve to make it as good as possible. We have to comply and make observations as we go along.

"There are now three over-aged players allowed plus a goalkeeper on the pitch at the same time. Statistically, the Reserves were largely an Under-21 side and have been for a number of years but, if you look at the make-up of the opponents we played last year, many of them had a lot of squad players in them. So, for us, as a learning process, it was very, very good.

"I'm not so sure there will be as many games like that. It's another issue but when there are other people involved in the situation where each club gets a vote and we were left with the majority, all the votes were cast and I was in the minority. You have to fulfil the games programme one way or another and we have to work out what's the best thing for the

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