Hamilton’s reputation for developing young players has continued to pay dividends as they made five signings in a little over 24 hours.
Full-back Aaron McGowan and attacking midfielder Sam Kelly became the latest players to move north to New Douglas Park.
They followed former Nottingham Forest midfielder Aaron Smith, former Hibernian and Falkirk midfielder Tom Taiwo and on-loan Norwich striker Mason Bloomfield.
McGowan, 21, referenced the players who have moved on to bigger things from Accies, who include James McCarthy, James McArthur and Greg Docherty, after joining from Morecambe.
The Shrimpers were keen to keep hold of the Liverpudlian – their youngest Football League player – after he helped them avoid the drop from Sky Bet League Two, but McGowan rejected a new contract in favour of a Bosman move to Lanarkshire.
McGowan told Accies TV: “There were a few other options but the club made me feel at home straight away. I want to improve as a player and as a person and the environment here, alongside the people that they’ve developed here in the past, was a big factor in my decision to join.”
Hamilton boss Martin Canning said: “Aaron fits the profile of player that has become synonymous with the success of Hamilton Accies in recent years: he’s young, hungry and, despite only being 21, has played over 100 games at first-team level.
“He’s another one we’ve been following for a while. He has improved year on year, evidenced with the personal accolades he picked up last season, so we’re delighted he’s chosen Hamilton Accies as the place to continue his development.”
Creative and pacey midfielder Kelly was an Everton youth player before moving to Norwich – where he worked under former Accies boss Alex Neil – and then Port Vale. He joins Accies after one season with Grimsby, where he made 12 appearances.
Canning added: “We are well aware we need to add to our creative and attacking options in midfield and Sam fits the bill.
“He’s played a good number of first-team games in the Football League down south and we think, at 24, he’s one who has the attributes to succeed in the Scottish Premiership.”