SPFL Development League

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SPFL Development League
Scottish Professional Football League.svg
Country Scotland
Founded 1998 (as Scottish Premier under-18 League)
Divisions 1
Number of teams 17
Level on pyramid 1
Relegation to N/A
Domestic cup(s) Scottish Youth Cup
Current champions Aberdeen U20s
Current Season

The SPFL Development League is the top level of youth football in Scotland. It is contested by the Under-20 teams of 17 Scottish Professional Football League clubs.


A youth league was founded as the Scottish Premier under-18 League in 1998. Clubs fielded Under-18 teams, with the Scottish Premier Reserve League originally being an under-21 league. The competition was changed in 2003 when it became the Scottish Premier under-19 League. The teams played 22 matches rather than 30.

For the 2012–13 season, the competition changed again, this time to the Scottish Premier under-20 league, there were 15 teams, and teams played 28 matches per season.[1] With the inception of the Scottish Professional Football League for the 2013–14 season, the league become the SPFL U20 League and the number of teams increased to 16.[2] Teams were allowed to field two over-age outfield players and an overage goalkeeper.[3]

The league was renamed the SPFL Development League in 2014, with the number of teams increased to 17.[4] At this time two regional leagues were also introduced, with eight clubs competing in the Development League West and nine clubs competing in the Development League East.[5] The restriction on over-age players was relaxed, with teams now permitted to use five older players in a matchday squad of 18.[6]

Current participants[edit]

The participants for the 2014–15 season in the Development League are:

Team Coach
Aberdeen Paul Sheerin[7]
Celtic John Kennedy
Dundee United Stevie Campbell
Dunfermline Athletic Hamish French
Hamilton Academical Allan McGonigal
Heart of Midlothian Jack Ross[8]
Hibernian James McDonaugh
Inverness Caledonian Thistle Duncan Shearer
Kilmarnock Alan Robertson
Motherwell Jonatan Johansson
Partick Thistle Scott MacKenzie
Rangers Gordon Durie
Ross County
St. Johnstone Alec Cleland
St. Mirren David Longwell

Source: SPFL Development League 2014/15 fixtures


Under-18 League[edit]

Season Winner
1998–99 Aberdeen
1999–00 Celtic
2000–01 Heart of Midlothian
2001–02 Rangers
2002–03 Celtic
2003–04 Celtic

Under-19 League[edit]

Season Winner
2003–04 Celtic
2004–05 Celtic
2005–06 Celtic
2006–07 Rangers
2007–08 Rangers
2008–09 Hibernian
2009–10 Celtic
2010–11 Celtic
2011–12 Celtic

Under-20 League[edit]

Season Winner
2012–13 Celtic
2013–14 Celtic


  1. ^ "SPL to create Under-20 league". STV Sport. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "U20 League fixtures". www.spfl.co.uk. SPFL. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Waddell, Gordon (9 October 2011). "Reserve league football could return as part of SFA plan to revamp Scottish game". Daily Record. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Development League fixture list". www.spfl.co.uk. SPFL. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Development League East & West fixtures". www.spfl.co.uk. SPFL. 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Development League kicks off, SPFL
  7. ^ "Paul Sheerin joins Aberdeen as coach after leaving Arbroath". BBC Sport (BBC). 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Jack Ross to leave Dumbarton to lead Hearts U20s, BBC Sport.

External links[edit]