So, another u20 development league campaign is upon us. With u20s involvement already this season in the newly formatted Irn-Bru cup, interest mounts as to who will be the next upcoming talents from Scotland to catch our eye. The opening weeks fixtures bring some interesting games, but I’ll first take a very brief look back at last season.
Celtic ultimately ran out comfortable champions fairly on early on in the season, no surprises there. But as we know, like many youth competitions, its less about the league position and more about blooding the talent. Nevertheless, this league is highly competitive and the games I went to last season were all high tempo and never short of passion.
Interestingly, Patrick Thistle and Falkirk were the two teams to impress me most, and they finished 2nd bottom and 11th respectively. Dunfermline, who finished bottom, were another side whose young talents impressed. Young striker PJ Crossan stood out on a number of occasions for the u20s last season and this earned him 2 appearances for the first team, who became League 1 champions at a canter. Crossans goal tally for Dunfermline u20 was nothing special but Celtic have snapped him up in the summer, and with him already bagging 2 goals in the Irn-Bru cup for the u20s, seeing this raw talent flourish at Celtic will be an interesting watch.
Another interesting development to follow will be the likes of St Mirren and Aberdeen whose u20 set ups will be without the influential and experienced characters of Jim Goodwin (St Mirren) and Willo Flood (Aberdeen) who have departed for 1st team football at Alloa and Dundee United respectively. When these guys featured for the u20’s last season it wasn’t only the quality and calmness on the ball that they brought to the game, but it was their leadership, organisation and willingness to guide the younger players. Offering a key piece of advice, or in some cases giving someone an earful, proved to be their key attribute in the games I witnessed last season. Add this to the influence in the dressing room on match days. It will be interesting to see how both sides fair without them and whether a similar role will be filled by other senior players already at the club.
So, heres a look at the ones to watch this season. I’ve picked out a few stand out names below from a handful of clubs who caught my eye, a couple who perhaps fall under the radar from others. Keep your eyes peeled… and as always, feel free to get in touch.
I’m also hoping to get along to few of the new u23 English games this season too, so watch this space.