Hibs make Reserve League return as SPFL announces teams for 2022/23 competition
Hibs will return to the SPFL Reserve League this season, after the competition was revived following a hiatus of more than two years.
Second-string competitive matches were paused when the Covid-19 pandemic brought a halt to football in Scotland but will resume on Tuesday September 6, with Hibs hosting Dundee United at the Hibernian Training Centre.
Matches are scheduled to be played on Tuesday afternoons with ten clubs playing each other once in a nine-game the season.
The Easter Road side will be joined by Ayr United, Dundee, Dundee United, Hamilton, Kilmarnock, Livingston, Motherwell, and Queen of the South in the division.
The same ten reserve league teams plus Dunfermline, Partick Thistle, and Queen’s Park will also compete in the Reserve Cup, with the draw taking place on Tuesday August 2.
Hearts chose to enter a B team to enter in the Lowland League along with the Old Firm mainly because talks on restarting the reserve league had stalled.
Hibs academy chief Steve Kean revealed in April that the club had held talks over a return to the reserve league, despite the Capital club being one of five teams along with Aberdeen, Celtic, Rangers, and St Johnstone who pulled out of the secondary competition some years ago, to focus on setting up a tailored games programme.
Hibs will still play matches against English Under-23 sides in the 1875 Invitational friendly tournament as well as participating in the Reserve games, with the club’s reserve team likely to be made up of a mixture of development squad and under-18 eligible players.
Kean said: Hibs would “support and be interested in” a new reserve league.
He added: "We would supplement that with playing games against teams from England that would really push our players in a different direction. Sometimes when we play teams here, everybody knows everybody else; the players know all the other players in the other team.”
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster added: “We are pleased to be able to offer our member clubs the opportunity to be able to play SPFL cinch Reserve League football again, after the League was originally paused due to the pandemic.
“We would also like to thank our partners at cinch for its support of the SPFL cinch Reserve League and its fantastic ongoing backing of the Scottish game.”