EVA O'Donovan and Nina Candido Charley became symbols of the defeat of the Yes campaign last September. Images of the despondent teenagers in a barren George Square, draped in Saltires and faces covered in Yes stickers, were beamed across the world.

It was not all the photographs and clips of Eva and Nina, who were then just 16 and 17, symbolised. They also reflected a newly-politically engaged youth, a consequence of under-18s being given the chance to take part in an election for the first time in UK history.

One year on, the debate continues over whether the referendum was good for Scotland. But at least one legacy - extending the franchise - has been widely accepted. All Holyrood parties support the measure, and in June a law to lower the voting age in all Scottish elections passed unanimously.

Eva, a waitress from Shawlands who hopes to study English and French at university, recalls lying to her mum by saying she was staying at a friend's house on referendum night. She was rumbled when pictures of her in George Square, which had become an unofficial hub for the pro-independence movement, featured prominently on news bulletins and newspaper websites.

Initially leaning towards voting No, she changed her mind as the issue became the talk of her peers, something she believes only happened because they were allowed to participate.

"We were really excited and were convinced it was going to happen," she says. "In hindsight we were just seeing Glasgow, not realising that other constituencies weren't the same. The result came through and I remember feeling so heartbroken. We went home at about 8:30am and woke up at three in the afternoon. I checked my phone and it had been bombarded with messages from people who'd seen us on the TV. My cousins in Australia had seen us on the news there."

Despite being too young to vote in the UK general election, Eva has remained engaged with politics, taking an interest in Greece and Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader.

She added: "Giving 16 and 17-year-olds the vote has been a really good thing. It's engaged young people and smartened them up. Instead of putting something like Friends on TV, I'll watch the news. I'm still really passionate about us becoming an independent country, but I don't know how I would feel about another referendum happening quickly. I'd like to see it happen but I'm not sure when."

When Alex Salmond announced he would legislate to give younger teenagers the vote, the move was met with scepticism from some but academic research has shown many of the concerns, including that youngsters would be unduly swayed by their parents, were unfounded.

Dr Jan Eichhorn, of the University of Edinburgh, has led in-depth research into the impact of the policy and said the verdict had overwhelmingly positive. Studies found that two thirds of Scottish 16 and 17-year-olds would have been very likely vote in the general election, if they had the chance, compared to 40 per cent UK-wide.

"We can clearly see there has been a lasting impact, at least for the moment" he said. "But it's not enough to just pat ourselves on the back. Political education in the school curriculum is really important."

Across Scotland, there are examples of young people who have stayed engaged with politics after being allowed to vote. Martin Hamilton, from Ardrossan, says the referendum transformed a passive interest into active involvement. Aged 17 last September, he now spends his Saturdays manning a Scottish Socialist Party stall at locations across Ayrshire.

A social sciences student at Ayrshire College, he said allowing 16 and 17-year-olds the vote had encouraged teenagers to think about politics and that it remained a regular topic of conversation among his circle of friends.

"We'd always just talk about football or what we did at the weekend," he said. "Now we're talking about politics and are caring. One of my best mates was in favour of No, we'd have very heated discussions but at the end of the day it's nothing personal. We've all got the same common goal, it's just different views on how we get there.

"It felt really good to be able to vote. I was crushed after the result. But the headteacher called a special assembly and told us how happy he'd been to see young people politically motivated and not to lose that. That picked me up."

Mark Swan, a 16-year-old last September, became so interested in politics during the referendum campaign that he became a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament. He has set up his own website aimed at people his own age where he interviews political figures. Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has appeared, while he has John Swinney, Scottish Secretary David Mundell and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie lined up. Mark hopes to become a politician in future.

"I'd always been interested in politics, but being able to vote for the first time made us part of the political process," the Cults Academy student, from Aberdeen, said. "Politics used to be something we'd only talk about in modern studies or PSE, but at lunchtime we'd all talk about the referendum. With 16 and 17-year-olds able to vote next year, I anticipate that will continue.

"It didn't matter whether people had voted Yes or No, it was that people were getting engaged. It had a huge positive impact on a whole generation of 16 to 25-year-olds, with politics seen as something that's cool you've got to think about, and that's the referendum's legacy."