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Ross County win young SPFL crown after Accies draw

Hamilton Academical 0

Celtic FC 0

  • Wednesday, 03 May 2017
  • Superseal Stadium, Hamilton
  • Under 20´s
  • SPFL Development League

After their heroic win at Dingwall on Monday night, Accies had given themselves one final chance to leapfrog Ross County and clinch the Development League crown at new Douglas Park. Try as they might though, Accies just couldn’t find the magic to overcome Celtic on the night. Ross County could finally celebrate.

Fittingly, Stuart Kettlewell’s players will receive their trophy to the acclaim of Staggies fans at their home SPL fixture with Accies next Tuesday. It marks the culmination of Kettlewell and his back room staff’s hard work in developing the best footballing talent in the Highlands, with the likes of Dylan Dykes, Ben Malcolm and Greg Morrison now pushing for a first team start in Jim McIntyre’s XI.

Guilleme Beuzelin’s young Accies side meanwhile will reflect on what might have been. On a day when a CIES Football Observatory report ranked the club the highest in the UK for the percentage of first team minutes played by home grown players, there is still plenty to be proud of. Four or five players from the youth system regularly feature in Martin Canning’s first team line ups, with players such as Steven Boyd and Ryan Tierney tipped next for the conveyer belt of talent.

Before a hopeful crowd of 1270, Accies also drew on the experience of former Rangers and Hearts striker David Templeton. He was at the heart of their best chances on the night, both sides carrying more threat in the opening 45 minutes.

And it could have been a very different night had Accies pounced on their best opening of the match, after just 4 minutes, with Boyd’s edge of box effort parried away by Conor Hazard from Jack Breslin’s cut back. It was to be another half hour before Accies could next seriously test the Celtic keeper, this time as Tierney and Templeton linked up twice for chances in quick succession.

Hazard was alert on both occasions, showing bravery to dive at Templeton’s feet on 34 minutes, before tipping over the striker’s header a minute later from Tierney’s cross to the far post.

Celtic came even closer though, striking the woodwork on 18 minutes after Regan Hendry released Calvin Miller in the box. From a tight angle he watched as his shot hit the inside of the post and clear.

  • Half Time:
  • Hamilton Academical
  • 0-0
  • Celtic FC

But it was an even match, with neither side taking a grip of the midfield. The stalemate continued for much of the second half, until a frantic last 15 minutes as Accies commited numbers forward. Templeton continued to look lively linking the play as the hosts tried to unlock a compact Celtic defence.

The young hoops still looked comfortable though, despite having only pride to play for. Shots on target from Hendry, Aidan McIlDuff and Fiacre Kelleher tested Darren Jamieson’s handling skills, but for the most part the game deteriorated into a midfield scrap.

Unable to find a way through, the best Accies chances were from long range. Lewis Ferguson’s effort drifted inches over on 61 minutes, with Boyd seeing a shot deflected agonizingly wide on 73 minutes.

The clock ticked down and both sides rang a few changes with Accies trying to introduce some width through Marc Kelly. The substitute laid on one final chance for Ferguson with five minutes to go, but the midfielder’s shot was crowded out from six yards.

It was petering out for the home side. Miller could have eased all Ross County fears in the final minutes but couldn’t connect cleanly with a shot from inside the area.

Accies just hadn’t found the cutting edge required against high calibre opponents. There was a sense of anti-climax but the home side took a well-deserved bow, having taken this title to the wire. In the end this was to be Ross County’s season.

  • Full Time:
  • Hamilton Academical
  • 0-0
  • Celtic FC

Lineups

Hamilton Academical
Celtic FC
1. Ross Connelly
2. Jack Breslin
3. Rico Quitongo
4. Shaun Want
5. Alex Gogic
6. Ronan Hughes
7. Ross Cunningham
8. Lewis Ferguson
9. Ryan Tierney
10. Steven Boyd
12. David Templeton
14. Danny O’Halloran
15. Jojo McGregor
16. Jamie Boyd
17. Steffen Connelly
19. Darren Jamieson
20. Marc Kelly
1. Conor Hazard
2. Sam Wardrop
3. Aidan McIlDuff
4. Josh Kerr
5. Fiacre Kelleher
6. Joseph Thomson
7. Theo Archibald
8. Mark Hill
9. PJ Crossan
10. Regan Hendry
11. Calvin Miller
13. Ross Doohan
12. Wallace Duffy
14. Broque Watson
15. Ewan Henderson
16. Lewis Bell
17. Shaun Bowers
Star Player
Hamilton Academical
Celtic FC
David Templeton carried most of the Accies threat throughout, unlucky not to have scored in the first half.
Josh Kerr had a strong game at the back for Celtic, snuffing out any Accies danger.
Magic Moment
Hamilton Academical
Celtic FC
Steven Boyd's missed chance on 4 minutes was about as close as Accies got all game.
Miller showed great skill and movement to get a shot away on 18 minutes, unlucky to see it rebound off the inside of the post.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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