THE Scottish FA has announced which clubs have been awarded 'elite' status under the new Project Brave academy structure.

Clubs have been placed in 'elite', 'progressive' and 'performance' categories according to 'a criteria-based system and an assessment of Measurable Performance Outcomes (MPOs).'

Eight Ladbrokes Premiership clubs - Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Hamilton - have been named in the elite bracket.

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A statement read: "The aim was to bring greater focus to talent development and optimise playing opportunities.

"Enhanced funding for achieving MPOs will encourage best practice, with the objective of Project Brave to harness the success of the strategic plan and ensure a more efficient pathway to first-team football.

"Those not selected for the ‘Elite’ top tier will still have access to a level of funding from the Scottish Football Association to support the running and improvement of their academies."





Heart of Midlothian






Ayr United

Dundee United

Forth Valley

Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Partick Thistle

Ross County*

St Mirren

St Johnstone




Greenock Morton*

Queen’s Park

*May be subject to appeal.

Scottish FA Performance Director Malky Mackay said: “This is a significant milestone for Project Brave.

“Club Academy Scotland is a fundamental part of the process and a lot of work has gone into developing the criteria used to assess the clubs.

“From Day One this has been a collaborative activity.

“The clubs have been engaged at every step, with daily dialogue to help with their applications.

“We have been heartened and inspired by so many of the positive things we have seen in regards to the development of young Scottish footballers and our aim is to assist clubs and encourage them to hit the highest possible standards.

“What I would like to stress is that the bandings are not fixed and they will be reassessed in June 2018.

“No door is closed to clubs outside of the Elite bracket with aspirations to move up.

“As a result of the conversations we had with clubs, a new middle tier was created.

“The ‘Progressive’ category was designed to ensure ‘smaller’ but ambitious clubs with academies could find their natural place in the system, with scope to push on.

“For those in the top tier, we will continue to monitor their work in conjunction with our independent auditors.

“This is only one more step but we believe it’s a crucial one.”