The 2023/24 season of the Club Academy Scotland (CAS) Under-18s Elite League kicks off on Friday, with reigning champions Hamilton Academical hosting Kilmarnock in their opening match.

Accies defeated Motherwell 3-2 to win the league title in May. That victory also ensured Hamilton qualified for the UEFA Youth League.

The Elite League matches get underway at 2pm, as Motherwell take on Hearts at Dalziel Park while Dundee United take on Celtic at St Andrews University at the same time. 

St Mirren play Hibernian and Queen's Park take on Aberdeen in the league's other two matches, as Rangers have a free week. 

The other Under-18 divisions get underway in the next few weeks as well, with the CAS Performance League beginning on the weekend of Friday, 4 August and the CAS Advanced Youth League kicks off on the weekend of Sunday, 27 August.

August also sees the return of the weekend of the Scottish FA Youth Cup with the First Round taking place on the weekend of Friday 18.

Club Academy Scotland provides strategic direction for the development of players in this Scotland, from Under-11 to Under-18 level.

Clubs are assigned to either the Elite, Performance (Progressive), Performance or Advanced Youth level, based on set criteria and a set of Measurable Performance Outcomes (MPOs).

These consider factors such as appearances for home-grown players, coaching qualifications, facilities, talent identification, sport science and medical set ups.

Campbell Money, Club Academy Scotland manager said: "While several of our programmes continue throughout the summer months, it's always an fascinating time when the new season gets underway and we look forward to another exciting season watching our young players develop.

"We are now consistently seeing players who have developed through the Club Academy Scotland system make an impact at both first-team and international level and I am certain that there will also be players in this season's competition who will follow in their footsteps. 

"Hamilton Academical were extremely worthy winners last season and we will watch with interest as they look to compete with some of Europe's biggest names in the UEFA Youth League.

"The Elite League is certain to be competitive once again and I wish all the teams competing at Under-18 level the best of luck for the coming campaign."

Club Academy Scotland Under 18 (Elite) Opening Fixtures 

Hamilton Academical v Kilmarnock - New Douglas Park (Friday, 28 July - 7pm)
Queen's Park v Aberdeen - Lochinch (Friday, 28 July - 3:30pm)
Motherwell v Heart of Midlothian - Dalziel Park (Friday, 28 July - 2pm)
Dundee United v Celtic - St Andrews University (Friday, 28 July - 2pm)
St Mirren v Hibernian - St Mirren Training Ground (Friday, 28 July - 2:30pm)