10 Scottish sporting stars to watch out for in 2020

They may not yet be household names but we expect to be seeing a lot more of these talented young Scots drawn from a range of sports in the coming year
Nathan Patterson is expected to make his first-team breakthrough at Rangers this seasonNathan Patterson is expected to make his first-team breakthrough at Rangers this season
Nathan Patterson is expected to make his first-team breakthrough at Rangers this season

Nathan Patterson, football

The 18-year-old Rangers right-back has regularly been included in first-team training sessions this season by manager Steven Gerrard who has been hugely impressed by both his ability and mentality. A member of the Scotland under-19 side who qualified for the elite round of the European Championship earlier this season, Patterson has already attracted the attention of English Premier League scouts. But to Gerrard’s delight, Patterson last week signed a new contract with Rangers which runs until the summer of 2022. A star performer for Graeme Murty’s Rangers development side who have reached the play-off round of this season’s Uefa Youth League, Patterson is expected to make his first team breakthrough in 2020.

Jamie-Lee Napier, football

It was a breakthrough year for Napier who, after a strong season with Hibernian, was named player of the year in the Scottish top flight. Her performances, notably in helping Hibs reach the last 32 of the Champions League, caught the attention of some heavyweight suitors and she left Edinburgh to sign for Chelsea where she will link up with fellow Scotland international Erin Cuthbert. Playing in the English Super League should significantly enhance the versatile Napier’s chances of establishing herself as a regular pick in Shelley Kerr’s national side.

Lewis Fiorini, football

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The Manchester City midfielder has been a member of the Scotland international youth set-up since scoring on his debut for the Under-16s against Spain in February 2018. Now 17, Fiorini has made impressive progress through the City academy system since joining it when he was still at primary school. A technically gifted and attack-minded player, Fiorini has flourished under the Pep Guardiola blueprint of sharp passing and movement. Fiorini graduated to City’s elite development squad this season, experiencing a taste of first-team competition in the EFL Trophy.

Calum Hill, golf

Calum Hill has five professional wins to his name – two while he was still out in the US and three on the Challenge Tour – and he looks to have both the game and mentality to add to that tally on the European Tour.

The 24-year-old, who was born in Kirkcaldy but now lives at Crook of Devon in Perthshire, secured his step-up to the top circuit on the back of an impressive first full season on the Challenge Tour in 2019. Hill looked at home when he played in three events on the European Tour last year, finishing as the joint-top home player on his Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open debut at The Renaissance Club after coming through a qualifier at Longniddry. He has opened his 2019/2020 campaign by comfortably making three consecutive cuts, getting himself in the mix in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

Hill, who is attached to Gleneagles, has a terrific work ethic and he has his sights set on following in stablemate Bob MacIntyre’s footsteps by winning the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.

Katie Archibald and Neah Evans

All eyes are on Toyko in Olympic year and the British team will look to continue its success in the velodrome. From a Scottish perspective, much of the focus will be on Katie Archibald, a gold medallist in Rio in the team pursuit four years ago, but she looks set to have some support in Japan from compatriot Neah Evans. The pair hope to link up for a tartan tilt at the madison, the two-rider relay event, and they are also targeting selection for the team pursuit. Both helped Britain win gold in the latter at the European track championships in the Netherlands in October and they believe they get the best out of each other.

Maria Lyle, athletics

Double gold at the World Para-Athletics Championships in Dubai in November made 2019 a stellar year for the Dunbar teenager who overcame anxiety issues to reach the pinnacle of her sport. Marked out as one to watch from an early age, the pressure took its toll, but Lyle has found a new sense of perspective and shows remarkable maturity for a 19-year-old. Her performances in Dubai saw her top the podium in both the 100 and 200 metres T35 events. This year will see her travel to the Paralympics in Tokyo where her sights will be set on another sprint double.

Jacob Fearnley, tennis

Edinburgh teenager Jacob Fearnley is one of the most promising tennis prospects in Scotland right now. The 18-year-old competed at junior Wimbledon last summer and finished 2019 by making the final of a Futures event in Austin, Texas. He will look to build on that by winning titles in tennis’ third tier before graduating to the Challenger circuit.

Hollie Davidson, rugby

It’s been a while since Scotland have had rugby referees in the top category. Jim Fleming officiated at four World Cups and Rob Dickson was the last Scot to blow a whistle during a Six Nations game in 2002. Aberdeenshire’s Hollie Davidson is blazing a trail and looks destined for big things. After shoulder problems curtailed a rugby career with Murrayfield Wanderers and Edinburgh University, she became a qualified ref in 2017 and has since officiated Wales v Ireland in the Women’s Six Nations, became the first female referee at the Melrose Sevens, handled Stirling County v Southern Knights in the Super 6 this season and has taken assistant referee duties in the Guinness Pro14, including the recent first 1872 Cup encounter between Glasgow and Edinburgh at Scotstoun.

Femi Solofarin, rugby

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He could well be one of our own, but it’s complicated. Born in Boston, USA, the 19-year-old Harlequins wing and Newcastle University student was educated at Dulwich College, played for Scotland Under-18s, Team GB in the qualifying campaign for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, and then England Sevens. The speedster switched allegiance back to the land of his Glaswegian grandmother and scored the winning try in a famous 26-24 win over England at the HSBC World Series Cape Town Sevens in November.

He turns 20 on 22 January and will be officially ‘captured’ for Scotland if he plays in the next round of the sevens series in Hamilton, New Zealand, two days after his birthday.