As Queens Park appoint former Rangers Youth Academy Director Jimmy Sinclair as their Head of Youth, Youth Football Scotland takes a look back at five graduates of the prestigious youth set up at Hampden.
Arguably the greatest and most successful manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson joined the Spiders as an amateur in 1957, having been an apprentice toolmaker at the Remington Rand typewriter factory in Glasgow. Making, and scoring on, his debut aged 16, Sir Alex went on to make 31 appearances for Queens - scoring 20 goals in the process.The inaugural Life Member of Queen’s Park, Sir Alex retired in May 2013, having won 38 trophies across 26 years for Manchester United.
Former Wigan, Cardiff and Watford boss Malky MacKay progressed through the youth ranks, playing for Queens’ U16 and U18 sides, prior to making his first team debut in December 1990. A no nonsense, tough tackling centre back, MacKay became a first team regular and made 75 appearances for his boyhood club. Full time football beckoned, and a transfer to Celtic soon followed. Making his Scotland debut against Denmark in 2004, MacKay became the first former Queen's player to win an international cap for almost 30 years. Stints at Norwich City, West Ham and Watford ensued, before stepping into management.
Having been released by Celtic at U15 level for being ‘too small’ current Hull City and Scotland left back Andy Robertson signed for Queens Park’s U19 side in 2012. An impressive pre season performance saw him join in with the first team, where a string of consistent performances earned him a deal with Dundee United. Making his International debut, as well as being named as both the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year and in the Team of the Year in his first season as a professional footballer, Robertson joined then Premiership side Hull City for £2.85m.
Starting his career with Queens Park at U12 level, Everton and Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady rose through the ranks at Hampden. After starring for Scotland Schoolboys, McGeady made the switch to Parkhead aged 17. Season 2007-08 saw him pick up both the SPFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards respectively - only the second player ever to do so. A four year stint at Spartak Moscow in Russia ended in 2014, with the ambidextrous winger penning a four and a half year deal.
While the aforementioned graduates have established themselves within the game, Aberdeen and former Spiders striker Lawrence Shankland may be the next to make a name for himself. The 19 year old joined Queens aged 13, and scored 14 goals in his breakthrough season before being snapped up by the Dons. After surpassing the 30 goal mark in the SPFL Development league last term, his first Scotland U21 call up saw him come off the bench to score a double as Scotland beat Hungary 2-1.