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Thursday, 04 August 2016 22:03

Scottish football's ten potential young stars for the 2016/17 season

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Kevin O’Hara (Falkirk, on loan at East Fife) – After a lengthy period playing development team football, where he scored 14 goals over the course of last season, O’Hara was thrust into the first team in the middle of a tense game, in front of a packed Easter Road crowd against Hibernian, which shows the sheer faith that the Falkirk coaching staff have in this young striker. With 17 first team games under his belt last season, former Syngenta Juveniles man O’Hara looks sure to kick on and continue his development even further, as he begins a loan spell at Bayview Stadium. 
Eamonn Brophy (Hamilton Accies) – Not many teenagers can say that they’ve scored away to Celtic Park at the age of merely 19, but that feat is something that Brophy can stake a claim to. The strike away to the Scottish champions was one of a series of goals which the Scotland under-19 international notched up towards the end of the season, also scoring against Celtic in the reverse tie at New Douglas Park and a double away to Partick Thistle. The young striker has also enjoyed loan spells in the past with both Dumbarton and Queen’s Park. With such an upturn in form at the end of the campaign, the Accies’ number 20 looks sure to build on that and score even more in the new season.
Cammy Kerr (Dundee) – The young right-back thought his days at his boyhood club were numbered only a year ago. After a series of loan spells at League Two Peterhead, where he was a regular in the side, Kerr probably wouldn’t have believed his chances of being picked as MOTM in the Dundee derby in his first Premiership start. But he did exactly that, as “one of our own” rang around Den’s Park, The Dee found their next star. With last season’s first choice right back Paul McGinn having left the club in the summer, Kerr looks sure to cement his place in Paul Hartley’s side for the upcoming season.
Jack Hamilton (Heart of Midlothian) – The Scottish under-21 goalkeeper, who earned a perhaps surprising senior call-up against Italy and France at the end of last season, has had to bide his time to have a chance in the nets for the Jambos first team. However, after Neil Alexander has left the Edinburgh outfit, it looks like Hamilton’s time has come to don the gloves at Tynecastle. Despite the addition of fellow goalkeeper Viktor Noring, the 6 foot 3 keeper looks set to become first-choice. 
Greg Taylor (Kilmarnock) – A captain of both Killie’s under 17 and under 20 sides, the left-back looks like a ready-made leader. Taylor couldn’t have made a better impression at the end of last season, as he started in Kilmarnock’s second-leg of the playoff final against Falkirk, standing out in a spectacular 4-0 win to preserve their Premiership spot. Despite the influx of young players into Lee Clark’s side this season, Taylor was awarded with a new 3-year contract in the summer, and he has surely made a strong impression on his manager and looks set to receive more chances in the 2016/17 season.
Callum Crane (Hibernian) - Crane is one of the young prospects to look out for in the new season as he looks to make a breakthrough into the first team. Left back Crane enjoyed a loan spell at Berwick Rangers last season, making twenty appearances with the league two club. Back at Hibernian now, he will be hoping to impress new manager Neil Lennon to guarantee himself some first team football. After a string of promising performances, especially in a 1-0 pre-season win over Birmingham City at Easter Road, 19-year-old Crane is well on his way to achieving the status of hot prospect.
Robbie Mutch (Aberdeen, on loan at Arbroath) - Aberdeen’s young goalkeeper Robbie Mutch, who has secured himself a loan deal at Arbroath until January, will be hoping to make inroads with the invaluable experience of senior appearances. The 17-year-old made his debut for the Red Lichties in the reformatted Scottish League Cup as they hosted Dundee United and was simply outstanding taking home the man of the match award on the night. Quite remarkable for a man who is legally not allowed to receive the complementary man of the match champagne. With the platform of league 2 to showcase his talent, Mutch will be planning to impress parent club Aberdeen and any others who are looking on.
Harry Souttar (Dundee United) - Dundee United might have sold one Souttar to Hearts but they have another promising Souttar in the pipeline. With the shake-up at United over the summer, Harry Souttar, brother of John, will be hoping to cement a spot in the Tangerine’s starting XI. Impressive performances in the League Cup group stages, Souttar has impressed and will look to continue to do so as he looks to make a name for himself in the Scottish Championship this season. He’s definitely one of the young players to keep an eye out over the course of the season and could be the answer to Dundee United’s defensive woes that plagued them throughout last season.
Jack Aitchison (Celtic) - Aitchison became Celtic’s youngest ever goal-scorer at the age of 16, when he came off the bench in the last game off the season to net against Motherwell. The Scotland youngster will be hoping it is the first of many records in his football career, if not Celtic career as he looks to make an impact on the park throughout the new campaign. Some cracking performances in the development especially the other night against Annan in the Irn Bru cup, have more than staked a claim for a shot at some first team football, but with the likes of Dembele and Griffiths at the fore it is difficult to envision Aitchison getting any real run in the side. Could a loan move be on the cards?
Chris Cadden (Motherwell) – With 22 Motherwell appearances racked up over the course of last season, and some brilliant early performances in the group stages of the Betfred Cup notching up 2 goals, Cadden looks like he will become a mainstay in the Steelmen’s side throughout the new season. The robustly-built midfielder, 19, enjoyed a loan spell at Albion Rovers a few seasons ago, earning him a new contract at Motherwell until 2018. Well’s manager Mark McGhee has already been singing the praises of his young star, which surely means his first-team chances will be at a high next season.

Gregor Kerr | YFS South East Region Journalist
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