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Six SPFL youngsters to watch out for this season

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Hibernian

Scott Martin – Martin made his first team debut in December 2014 as a late sub away to Falkirk, and the 17-year old tough-tackling midfielder from Glasgow has grown into an important player for Hibs in recent weeks. He made his first start in tough conditions, as the Leith club fell to a 6-2 defeat to Rangers in the Petrofac Training Cup, Martin stood out in the Hibs midfield. The following week he scored his first goal in green and white in a league cup game against Montrose, thanks to an Alex Harris pass, who also came from the Hibernian academy, which Martin coolly slotted underneath the keeper. The former Celtic Boys player has a bright future ahead of him.

Heart of Midlothian

Sean McKirdy – McKirdy was given a starting spot against Everton in pre-season, the 17 year old was well up to the challenge, as Hearts lost 3-1 to the Toffees. He noticeably handled himself admirably against James McCarthy and Gareth Barry in the midfield battle. Jam Tarts manager Robbie Neilson has already stated this season that he has “no fears” about starting McKirdy in the side, with his constant running and precision passing his key attributes.

Celtic

Kieran Tierney – The 18 year old was handed only his second ever league start against Ross County this season, Tierney has certainly caught the eye of Hoops manager Ronny Delia, being handed his debut as a late substitute last season away to Dundee. The left back first climbed to national coverage a year ago with an incredible goal against Heart of Midlothian development team, the strike coming from deep within his own half.

Aberdeen

Lawrence Shankland – Born in Glasgow, the Dons have a real gem on their hands in Shankland, who topped the scoring charts in the development league last season with 27 goals. The striker, signed from Ayr in 2013, has potential to be a fantastic number 9 for Aberdeen, after signing a new deal earlier this year which extends through to 2017. A natural goal scorer, Shankland started his Scotland career in sensational style, bagging two goals for the Under 21s against Hungary back in March.

Dundee United

Scott Fraser – After the departures of players like Ryan Gauld and Stuart Armstrong, Fraser appears to be the next talent rolling off the Tannadice side’s youth conveyor belt. After signing a new contract until 2018 earlier this month, Fraser was put into the first team at United. This, however, was not for the first time. He was originally thrusted into the first team back in 2011 at the tender age of 16, but his season was unfortunately ended before it began, as a serious leg injury kept Fraser out for a full year. Presuming he stays fit, the former Longforgan BC midfielder can have a big impact at Tannadice this season.

Motherwell

Joe Chalmers - The former Celtic left back struggled to make the grade at Celtic Park, after struggling with injuries, he recently signed for Motherwell. Chalmers still has time on his side however, at the age of 21 he looks to have finally nailed down a first team place, having started three games already for the Steelmen. The Scotland under 21 international also had a short loan spell at Falkirk back in 2014.

Gregor Kerr | YFS South East Region Journalist
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