Partick Thistle 2023/24 Young Player of the Nominees Revealed!

At the start of the season, Kris Doolan intimated that over the course of the 2023/24 term there would be plenty of opportunities for young players to make their mark.

Whether that be youngsters arriving from elsewhere or home-grown talents transitioning from the Academy to the first team, the Jags boss has stuck to his word with players who were aged 21 or under at the start of the season making 154 total appearances up to this point for the first team.

Now, it’s time to decide which junior member of the Jags squad was the pick of the bunch by voting for your 2023/24 McCrea Financial Services Young Player of the Year from the following candidates:

Ricco Diack

Having made his senior debut in his sole appearance of last season, Ricco Diack used the 2023/24 campaign as an opportunity to push on and earn more valuable first team experience. The 18-year-old had to bide his time but got his first start in professional football against Airdrieonians in early December with Brian Graham suspended and Tomi Adeloye injured. Diack took full advantage by scoring seven minutes into the game as Thistle won 2-1, announcing himself as a legitimate option for Kris Doolan. Since then he’s added a further two goals to his tally; a vital equaliser against Morton at Cappielow and a well-taken goal to round off another victory over Airdrieonians at home.

Zander MacKenzie

Lochgilphead native Zander MacKenzie made 16 appearances last season and has surpassed that with ease this year by making 23 appearances including seven starts with the play-offs still to come. MacKenzie started the season in fine form as he deputised for Jack McMillan at right-back, putting in a Man of the Match performance at Tannadice and setting up a goal for James Lyon against Spartans during the Viaplay Cup group stages. Since then, Zander has shown great versatility in his time on the pitch as he’s featured in defence, central midfield and on the wing at various points.

Lewis Neilson

Signed from Hearts on loan last summer, Lewis Neilson came to Maryhill in search of regular first team football and it’s fair to say he’s managed that with 39 appearances to his name and over 80% of available minutes played. Initially in central defence and latterly in defensive midfield, Neilson has been an important part of Kris Doolan’s team throughout the season with his ability to dribble forward creating a few chances for the Jags and producing three assists for the former Dundee United man. He also bagged a goal of his own in a 3-2 win over Queen’s Park in January, his first ever in senior football.

Ben Stanway

Our final nominee is a player who spent the back end of last season out on loan with Airdrieonians where he was part of a team that earned promotion to the Championship through the play-offs. Ben Stanway returned to Firhill as a better player and was instantly ready to feature for the Jags, showing as much when he started the first game of the competitive season, against Peterhead, converting twice in a lengthy penalty shootout. Overall Stanway has made 33 appearances so far this season scoring twice and setting up three goals, picking up the McCrea Financial Services Player of the Month for December along the way.

So, those are your nominees for the 2023/24 McCrea Financial Services Young Player of the Year award; voting is now open and will close on Wednesday 8th May at 4.30pm.