David Brockett casts his eye over Steven Boyd of Hamilton Accies in his latest SPFL Development League scouting report.
Following his switch from Celtic to Hamilton in the summer of 2014, attacking midfielder Boyd made his first-team debut against St Mirren at the end of last season and has been involved in the squad on a number of occasions this term.
With five Development League goals to his name in 2015/16, and a fantastic work rate, Boyd is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Playing as a traditional No 10 behind the striker, it took just two minutes for Boyd to open the scoring in last week's 4-0 win against Rangers. Spotting Scotland U17 goalkeeper Robby McCrorie off his line, Boyd's exquisite lob looped over the head of the keeper to give Accies an early lead.
He grabbed his second later in the first half, pouncing on the rebound from his original shot as it crashed off the bar. Boyd also scored in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock.
A technically skilled player, Boyd thrives with the ball at his feet. Be it stretching the opposition defence by means of running the channels or directly at defenders, his direct approach ensures he is a handful all over the pitch. With a low centre of gravity, Boyd’s ability to dribble and drift past players is of particular note. From his 14 attempted dribbles, 11 were successful.
Boyd’s vision is also of significant use. When attacking, he is capable of threading defence-splitting passes into the forwards, while also keen to play neat, one-touch passes. Although reluctant to attempt cross-field diagonals, Boyd’s accuracy in relation to short passes ensure Accies are able to play a free-flowing, passing brand of football.
Comfortable using both feet, his set-piece delivery will undoubtedly create goals this season. The designated corner and free-kick taker, Boyd’s typical delivery – whipped in with pace – adds a considerable threat to an already dangerous Accies attack.
Perhaps the 18-year-old’s most surprising quality is his work rate and desire to track back. Whenever his side lose the ball, Hamilton’s high press, coupled with Boyd’s energy and willingness to win the ball, proves incredibly useful.
Boyd’s tackling is also worthy of a mention. His measured, well-timed interceptions helped break down several counter attacks, with Boyd not flying into any ‘typical forwards’ challenges’.
A regular starter and scorer in the SPFL Development League, a run in Hamilton Accies’ first team surely beckons for an exciting talent.
Key strengths: Dribbling, work rate, pace, finishing, passing.