The new Scottish Premiership season kicks-off this weekend in what will be a big year for some of the league’s most exciting homegrown prospects.
Here are 12 young Scots – one from each Scottish Premiership team – hoping to make their breakthrough into the international scene this season:
Aberdeen | Kenny McLean | Midfielder, 23
McLean burst onto the scene at St Mirren where he made 131 appearances during a five-year spell in Paisley. Now at Aberdeen, McLean has confirmed his potential with some inspiring displays for the Dons as they made second place in the league their own in 2014/15. He’s hard-working central midfielder with an eye for a goal – as demonstrated by his midweek strike against Kairat Almaty in the Europa League.
Celtic | Stuart Armstrong | Midfielder, 23
It hasn’t taken the central-midfielder long to endear himself to the Celtic supporters following his January move from Dundee United. A stand-out in the Europa League draw against Inter Milan – where he bagged a goal and received Man of the Match – and already a firm fixture in Ronny Deila’s team, big things are expected of Armstrong this season. Could this be the year he makes his full Scotland debut?
Dundee | Scott Bain | Goalkeeper, 23
Cruelly denied a place in the Scotland squad for the double-header against Qatar and the Republic of Ireland through injury, the Dundee keeper will be eager to prove his worth again this season. Bain made 23 appearances for Paul Hartley’s team during the 2014/15 season after following his manager from Alloa Athletic and recently signed a contract until 2018.
Dundee United | John Souttar | Defender/Midfielder, 18
Adept at playing in central defence or midfield, John Soutter is the latest Scot to roll off a seemingly never-ending production line at Tannadice. Becoming the youngest first-team player in Dundee United’s history when he played against Aberdeen in 2013 aged just 16, he has featured for the Scotland Under-21s and will no doubt be looking for more international caps this year.
Hamilton Academical | Ali Crawford | Midfielder, 24
Easily forgotten that this talented young midfielder is just 24, having made his big breakthrough at the Accies in 2009/10. From midfield, he was the club’s second top goal-scorer last season with 11 goals, including the winning goal in a 1-0 win at Celtic Park last October. Former teammate James McArthur made his international debut at a similar age, could Crawford follow in his footsteps?
Hearts | Callum Paterson | Right-Back, 20
Already a regular fixture for the Scotland Under-21 side, the Hearts youngster was called up to Gordon Strachan’s team for the games against Republic of Ireland and England last November. He didn’t get a full cap that time around but, at 20-years of age, still has plenty of time to make his case for further involvement. Patterson play at right-back or as a forward and scored seven goals during the Jambos’ Championship title romp.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle | Ryan Christie | Midfielder, 20
Two-times Young Player of the Month and last year’s Scottish Football Writers’ Young Player of the Year, Christie was instrumental in Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s excellent form last season. Full of technical ability and pace, the youngster made life a nightmare for experienced SPFL defenders at certain points last season. After making his Scotland Under-21s debut last August, he’ll be keen to add more caps to his collection by continuing his good form into the 2015/16 season.
Kilmarnock | Lee Ashcroft | Defender, 21
Just one of a bunch of young stars making a name at Rugby Park just now, Lee Ashcroft’s rise to prominence has been a fast one, from playing with Barrhead Boys Club in 2010 to captaining Kilmarnock at 21-years of age against Motherwell in April. After forming a good defensive partnership with 18-year old David Syme last season, Ashcroft will be looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Killie graduates like Gordon Greer towards full international caps.
Motherwell | Dom Thomas | Winger, 19
Thomas is an exciting winger who has only just made his way into Motherwell’s first-team after blazing a trail at Under-20 level. Since being handed his debut against St Mirren in December, Thomas has gone on to make 15 first-team appearances for the Well and is quickly growing a cult following from the Fir Park faithful. Although his career is still in it’s early stages, he already drawn comparisons with another graduate from the Well Academy – a certain James McFadden.
Partick Thistle | Declan McDaid | Midfielder/Forward, 19
After joining from home-town club Greenock Morton in 2013, Declan McDaid has quickly made a name for himself as one of the league’s stand-out teenage talents. McDaid has compared his style to that of Raheem Sterling and is already dreaming of senior Scotland caps after scoring against England at schoolboy level.
Ross County | Tony Dingwall | Winger, 21
When you share a name with the local town it doesn’t take much to win over the home fans – but there’s more to Tony Dingwall than a fitting surname. The scorer of both goals in a 2-2 draw with Motherwell in December, Dingwall made 20 appearances in total for the Staggies last season. A player who loves running at defenders and who can play on the flanks as well as through the middle, his versatility should see him feature regularly for Ross County next season.
St Johnstone | Chris Kane | Striker, 20
A product of the St Johnstone Academy, Kane really made his name during two separate loan spells at Dumbarton where he netted 15 goals in 28 games. The youngster has more to his game than just goals though, with the work-rate and determination to force mistakes from defenders. Kane scored his first goal for the Saints in a 1-0 win over Aberdeen in the final game of last season.