Hamilton Accies Women boss: Important to recognise players' contribution with awards despite relegation

Hamilton Accies Women coach Robert Watson says it was important to recognise individual players, even if their season ended in relegation to SWPL2.

Accies might have bowed out of the top flight after four years, but players’ individual successes were honoured during an awards night at New Douglas Park on Sunday.

Player of the Year was won by defender Freya Macdonald, while midfielder Mason Blyth-Clark picked up the Players’ Player of the Year. Young Player of the Year went to goalkeeper Emma Thomson.

At under-18 level, midfielder Megan Querns won Player of the Year and fellow midfielder Shannon Morgan won Players’ Player of the Year. Continuing the trend, midfielder Nicole Harkins won the under-16 Player and Players’ Player of the Year, as did Grace Nelson at under-14 level. Merit awards were won by left-back Jessica Williamson (U14), striker Justine Strain (U16) and goalkeeper Sophia Anderson (U18).

Watson said: “Understandably it wasn’t quite a celebration, given how the season went, but I think everyone knew it was important to recognise that we still had successful points over the season and that there were good individual performances.

“Freya, Mason and Emma were all thoroughly deserving of their awards. When you look at it, we had originally planned to get Emma maybe five or eight games over the season, and they were probably going to be primarily cup games, but she went on to make 15 appearances, with Chloe Nicolson’s injury.

“Mason has come in on loan and is looking for first-team appearances, and I think she was just short of 30.

“Freya was one of our main signings across the summer and was probably our most consistent player, in my opinion over the season. She will be a big part of next season.”

Watson says most of his squad are staying on for next season, which will be a huge help over the summer.

He said: “There was a big turnover of players and staff and things last year, so we’re able to have a more settled pre-season this year.

“We will bring a few players in, but we’ve had conversations with all the players over the last week or so, and everyone at the moment is committed to next year. A lot of players recognise that it has been a tough few years, but I also think some of them deserve a chance to hopefully win something.

“It will also be Megan Quinn’s testimonial year, so she will be 10 years at the club and we’re looking forward to putting something in place to celebrate that, probably in March 2025.

“She has been such an amazing servant to the club, and hopefully she can lead us back to the top division as captain in her testimonial year.”

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