Where Are They Now?
Hamilton Academical WFC 2016 – The First SWPL 2 Title Winners
After a gruelling 2016, Accies went into the final day of the season at home to Buchan knowing a win would secure the inaugural SWPL 2 title however any slip up could see Hearts or Glasgow Girls (now Women) pip them to the title.
Accies had led much of the title race in the first half of the season but back to back losses away to Glasgow Girls and Hearts saw the Lanarkshire side trail.
After an incredible run of 8 straight wins following the Hearts defeat in August, including a last minute winner away at Buchan, Accies lined up at a packed New Douglas Park for the final showdown.
Goals from MT Gardiner, who would pick up the Accies Player and Players Player of the Year, the second from Mhairi Lyle who was in the form of her life and a Joanne Paton’s stunning curled effort sealed a momentous day for the club, returning to the top flight at the first time of asking.
We look back at this group and ask, where are they now?
- Laura Gallen – The centre midfielder came all the way through the Accies youth system and played a key role through the season. She stayed through to the end of 2017 helping keep Accies in SWPL 1 before focusing on her studies and moving on from football.
- Lori Gardner – Another youth academy graduate, Gardner burst onto the scene in 2016 with a string of top performances and made the right side of the Accies front line her own. Gardner became a key player in 2017 and 2018 for the club before she left for a new challenge and to travel Australia.
Lori is currently across the M74 at Motherwell.
- Katherine Jaycock (KJ) – Signed from Queens Park in January 2016, KJ brought much needed experience of the second tier and scored a memorable 30 yard effort away at Buchan.
KJ signed for Partick Thistle after leaving Accies and played in their Division 1 side promoted into SWPL 2 in 2018.
- Elaine Fleming (Lainey) – The Accies Legend finally picked up senior silverware in her 19th year at the Club. She retired after 20 years on the final day of the season in 2018 following the last day win over Rangers at New Douglas Park where she also picked up the Player of the Match.
Elaine has swapped football in retirement to focus on her other big sporting passion – skiing!
- Deborah McLeod (Debs) – Scored the crucial last-minute winner away to Buchan with a diving header which kept Accies in the title hunt after some poor mid-season form. A key part of the 2016 side in the defensive midfield role.
Debs left Accies to focus on her work after the 2017 season but has recently been back playing with Partick Thistle and now Livingston.
- Megan Quinn (Quinny) – The left back was one of Gary Doctors first signings when he took over in the summer of 2014 and she used every ounce of her top flight experience to help Accies to the title. Memorably formed part of “Jack and Victor” with Captain Gill Inglis.
Quinny is still at the Club, is the Vice Captain and recently hit 100 appearances.
- Gill Inglis – The Captain was one of the Leagues standout performers and scored some crucial goals including a pressure penalty against Hearts 2 weeks before the final match. She served Accies for just short of 10 years in total winning several Accies awards in her time at the Club.
Inglis left Accies for Rangers midway through 2018 and signed for Motherwell at the start of 2020.
- Amy Allan – One of the January 2016 signings, Allan quickly established herself as a no- nonsense central defender and was one of Accies most consistent performers. Her partnership with Amie McGill was a key part of how Accies played.
Allan left the club in 2017 to pursue a career in the prison service.
- Mhairi Lyle (Vaz, Vaz-Te) – Another January signing, Lyle had vast experience with Queens Park when she arrived at Accies and scored several important goals in the title run in including goals in the crunch double header against Glasgow Girls and Hearts.
Vaz left at the end of 2018 where she signed for Partick Thistle.
- Emma Lyons (Kirky) – Arrived in the summer of 2016, the Stirling Captain brought reinforcements and depth to the squad as they embarked on that unbeaten run to lift the title.
Kirky stayed at Accies until the end of 2018 where she returned to Stirling University.
- Lianne Watson – The Chaplain provided an ear to talk to for many of the players which helped massively in breaking any tension or pressure in the run in.
Lianne is still at the Club and is still supporting the players and staff.
- Gary Doctor (Manager) – The Boss had a successful career at Celtic managing their reserves before becoming Accies number 2 then the Manager in summer 2014. Following relegation in 2015 from SWPL 1, he had a huge rebuild job with his staff and a short time to integrate the style of play quickly.
Doctor is still the Club Manager.
- Amy Lindsay (behind 7. Gill Inglis and 8. Amy Allan) – Arriving from Rangers initially on loan, Lindsay had some injury problems through 2016 and found it tough to break into the side but became a key player in 2017 at central defence as Accies stayed up with games to spare.
Amy has since retired from football to focus on her career but can often still be seen popping into Accies games where she is still held in high regard.
- Megan White (Sports Therapist) and Kim Burns (not pictured, Sports Therapist) – Part of the backroom staff, Megan and Kim provided a key role patching up some weary legs all year as well as a vital outlet for players to talk to.
- Sam MacPherson – Sam returned to Accies in 2016 after a spell away at Queens Park amongst others. The left sided midfielder spent some time in the USA so found game time limited in the second half of the year but was an important part of the squad dynamic.
Sam left the Club for a successful career at Glasgow Girls and Queens Park.
- Kathleen Toolan (behind 9. Mhairi Lyle and 8. Amy Allan) – An Accies Academy graduate, Kathleen played understudy to Inglis at Full Back had a memorable match away to Buchan as part of a back 3 as Accies threw everything at the Grampian side for a winner. The young full back, already carrying an injury, played through the pain barrier to ensure Accies could keep 11 on the park.
Toolan left Accies for Celtic 23s but remains close to several of the 2016 alumni.
- Hannah O’Keane – The forward sadly was injured early on in 2016 and missed much of the season but was always around providing support to her teammates such was the team spirit in the 2016 squad.
Hannah left Accies for Partick Thistle in 2017.
- MT Gardiner (Mama T) – The 2016 Player and Players Player of the Year was an inspiration for Accies in 2016 when she arrived in February after some time away from the game. Instantly she was a success setting up a Lori Gardner tap in within 2 minutes of her debut. Christened “Mama T” by Amy Lindsey as the more senior member of the group.
MT left Accies in 2017 to commit time to her family and signed for her local side Dumbarton but triumphantly returned in 2019 after moving to the Hamilton area.
- Amy Anderson (Ando) – Signed from Glasgow City after a horror knee injury, Ando has become one of Accies greatest players in her own right. Spending much of her first year as an advanced playmaker, Anderson grew and grew in stature as the season progressed and picked up the Young Player of the Year.
Anderson became Accies Captain in summer 2018 and is fast approaching 100 appearances for the Club.
- Lauren Kerr – Signed from Cumbernauld Colts, Lauren had a successful year with Accies jostling for position in a very talented midfield. An aerial threat from midfield and a knack of arriving late saw her pick up several goals.
Lauren left in March 2018 and has played for numerous Clubs in the interim years including Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Glasgow Girls and recently signed for Queens Park.
- Joanne Paton – Another summer arrival from Celtic, Paton was the perfect player to put teams to the sword in latter stages of matches with her dribbling skill and finishing cutting in from the left. She scored the crucial third against Buchan on the final day of the season.
Paton left Accies to star for Glasgow City in the summer of 2017.
- Amie McGill – The towering central defender juggled her commitments with training for a new career with her football to form a partnership with Amy Allan. She scored one of the goals of the season with a wonder strike away to Queens Park.
Amie now works full time with the Emergency Services.
- Dani Connolly – Arrived with Joanne Paton, Connolly brought vital SWPL 1 experience to the side and pushed the defensive unit even harder at training.
Dani has gone on to become one of Accies key players and top servants and as of 2020, is still at the Club.
- Megan McFadden (on 3. Katherine Jaycock’s shoulders) – the defender sadly suffered ACL damage and wasn’t able to play in 2016 but remained a part of the social group of the Club.
- Amy McCafferty – the midfielder signed in 2015 and was a regular part of the side in the early stages of 2016. She travelled to the USA with Sam MacPherson in the summer so found game time limited in the second half of the year.
Amy left the Club at the end of the 2016 season.
- Suzy Smith – the youngest member of the squad at just 16 scored a memorable penalty in the shootout win over Spartans in the Scottish Cup.
Suzy became Accies 23s Captain in 2017 and left the club in 2018.
- Corri Cairns – another player who was plagued with injury problems but was an important part of the group as a whole.
Corri did manage Accies appearances in 2017 before pursuing a career in coaching in the USA.
- Jade Lindsay – the Northern Ireland international joined in Jun 2016 after leaving Celtic and made her debut in a win at Inverness. She established herself as a starter in 2017 and 2018 before having an injury hit 2019 and left the club at the end of the year.
Jade has recently signed with Forfar Farmington.
- Robert Watson (Assistant Manager) – Joined the club in April 2015 from Glasgow Girls where he served as Assistant and Head Coach and remains part of the Accies backroom staff today.
He also acts as the Club Secretary and heads up the successful Accies Media which he took control of at the end of 2016.
- Edward Gallagher (GK Coach) – Edward worked with Elaine through 2016 after leaving a role at Rangers. Following the end of the season he moved on to take up the Celtic Reserves role.
What Happened Next?
Accies were promoted into SWPL 1 where they stayed up at the expense of Aberdeen with games to spare. The final match of the 2017 season saw Elain Fleming retire in emotional scenes as Accies beat Rangers 2-1.