Rangers talent Matthew Shiels has signed a pre-contract agreement with Premiership club Hamilton Accies.
The young left-back started out with the club at U11 level and made his way up through the age groups.
He eventually turned out regularly for Scotland U19s and built up experience during loan spells at Edinburgh City, Dumbarton, Orange County SC and most recently, Clyde.
Shiels made ten appearances for the Bully Wee over the first half of this season before returning to Rangers following the suspension of League One in January.
Rangers announced on Friday morning via their Youth Academy Twitter account that Shiels’ contract would not be extended and it was soon confirmed that he would be joining Accies.
Rangers can confirm that the club will not extend the contract of Matthew Shiels upon its expiry at the end of the season. Matthew joined as a U-11 & had spells on loan with Dumbarton & Clyde.
Everyone at Rangers wishes Matthew well as he embarks on the next stage of his journey.
— Rangers Youth Academy (@RFC_Youth) May 14, 2021
“Coming here the aim is to break into the first team and get as many first-team appearances as I can,” he said [Hamiltonacciesfc.co.uk]. “I have played a lot of reserves and lower league football in previous years which has been fantastic for me, and now I make the step up and challenge myself to improve.”
Accies boss Brian Rice then expressed his delight at the deal, with Shiels set to join up with his new teammates in the summer.
“I am delighted to have Matthew as part of our squad for next season,” he said. “He is a player who we have been impressed with for a long time. He is only 20 and to have the amount of experience which he has is fantastic. He definitely improves the squad of players which we have here and we can’t wait to get working with him.”
For now, Accies are a Premiership side, but Shiels will almost certainly be playing in the Championship next season, as the Lanarkshire club require a nine-goal win over Kilmarnock on Sunday afternoon to avoid the drop.
Rangers’ decision not to retain Shiels was likely due in part to the rise of James Maxwell, who starred on loan at Queen of the South in the second tier this season.