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Thursday 21st May 2015

Development League Team of the Year

The 2014/15 SPFL Development League concluded this week when Motherwell beat Hamilton Accies 4-0 in the final game of the season.

The 2014/15 SPFL Development League concluded this week when Motherwell beat Hamilton Accies 4-0 in the final game of the season.

Aberdeen claimed the silverware, ahead of last year’s winners Celtic, but players from a number of clubs feature in David Brockett’s Team of the Season.

Between the sticks is Rangers goalkeeper Liam Kelly. Now in his 10th season at Ibrox, Kelly has played a part in their fourth-placed finish. Keeping five clean sheets across the campaign, the Scotland U19 keeper recently committed his future to the club, signing a new deal until 2018.

At left-back is highly-rated Celtic youngster Kieran Tierney. The versatile defender, who can also play in midfield, made his first-team debut last Friday against St Johnstone. Despite breaking his ankle at the turn of the year, KT, as he is commonly known, has been instrumental in Celtic’s league and cup campaigns and scored this wonder goal.

Appearing in all bar two of Hibernian’s 32 Development League game, Aaron Dunsmore is at right-back. As a constant feature of a Hibs side who scored 75 goals this season, Dunsmore’s only absences from Development League duty were due to first-team involvement. He was among the substitutes for the Edinburgh derby, Scottish Cup semi-final against Falkirk and last night’s play off against Rangers.

Standing 6ft 6in at the age of 16, Harry Souttar - brother of fellow Dundee United defender John - slots in at centre-back. Souttar was included in Scot Gemmill’s 18-man squad for the UEFA U17 Championship Finals in Bulgaria.

Celtic and Scotland U21 defender Stuart Findlay completes the backline. A composed, tough-tackling centre-back, Findlay spent the second half of the season on loan to Dumbarton.

Described by Jonatan Johansson as the ‘shining star’ of the Development League, Motherwell winger Dom Thomas takes his place in midfield. The tricky winger has scored 12 goals, netting a brace on four occasions - against Dundee, St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Celtic.

Falkirk’s Kevin O’Hara also joins in midfield. O’Hara, at 16 the youngest member of the Scottish Cup Final squad, has now scored 11 goals this season. After a string of impressive performances, O’Hara made his first-team debut as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Queen of the South. Having grabbed a treble against Inverness CT in the Development League, O’Hara will be looking to emulate that form when the sides meet in the Scottish Cup Final.

With 13 goals this term, Aberdeen attacker Cammy Smith has been pivotal in the Dons’ title success. Smith bagged a hat-trick, including the fine effort below in the 3-0 win over Dundee in March, as the Dons went on a nine-match winning run. Added with Lawrence Shankland’s 29 league goals, their goals combined account for almost half of the 87 amassed across the season.

Leading the line in a three-pronged attack is Hamilton Accies striker Eamonn Brophy, who netted 23 league goals, including hat-tricks against Aberdeen, Hibs and Inverness. Brophy was included in Scotland U19 coach Ricky Sbragia’s squad for the UEFA European Championship elite round, and was instrumental in Hamilton’s highest ever top-flight reserve finish.

Rangers Academy graduate Ryan Hardie also features up front. He was handed his first start for the first team and notched an impressive 19 Development League goals this term. Scoring two goals on his full debut, Hardie is likely to feature more frequently under Stuart McCall.

After scoring 29 goals and being voted Aberdeen’s U20 Player of the Year, Lawrence Shankland completes the XI. The league’s highest scorer, Shankland’s haul includes hat-tricks against Motherwell, Celtic and Falkirk. The former Queen’s Park hitman capped a memorable breakthrough season with a debut double for Scotland U21s in Hungary.