It's a good time to be a St Mirren fan. The weekend saw Jack Ross'…
This week saw the nominees for PFA Scotland Player and Young Player announced. There aren’t many surprises but some players can perhaps count themselves rather unlucky not to be shortlisted.
You can read our thoughts on the nominees below. Do you strongly agree or disagree with our take? Then let us know what you make of the nominees in the comments below.
— PFA Scotland (@PFAScotland) April 25, 2018
Stefan Bienkowski: If the player of the year is based on which solitary player was the most important to their specific team then I think it’s impossible to look beyond Scott Brown. He might not be the best player in the Scottish Premiership but Celtic simply aren’t Celtic without him at the base of their midfield. He is absolutely vital to the very best team in Scotland and that alone makes him the worthy winner of this award in my opinion.
Niall Murray: Not to be boring, but it’s hard not to agree with you. There’s simply no other player in Premiership who is more influential than Brown. Without him Celtic aren’t the same team and he’s proven again just how much of a powerhouse he is.
James Cairney: Particularly when you look at how Brown rises to the occasion for big matches, it’s hard to argue against him. Rarely puts a foot wrong and acts as a sort of metronome in Celtic’s midfield. It’s clear he relishes these opportunities – I don’t think anyone else nominated has reached that level of consistency when it really matters. That’s why Brown deserves it. Although an honourable mention for John McGinn, who’s been instrumental to Hibs’ success this season.
SB: James Forrest has had a fantastic season but his goalscoring has completely dried up in 2018 – although he did set up goals in the 3-2 and 4-0 wins over Rangers so he certainly deserves credit for that. McGinn and Kris Boyd certainly deserve their spots on this shortlist and if either Hibs or Kilmarnock can steal second place then both players will certainly move far closer to clinching the award.
NM: Forrest has had his best season in a Celtic jersey. There’s a strong argument to say he is the player that’s improved most during Brendan Rodgers tenure at Celtic. Not only is he scoring more goals he’s added more dimensions to his game. He’s now a better player defensively and has proven himself to be more of an asset to Celtic than Patrick Roberts this season.
JC: If the award went to whoever’s had the greatest impact on their team, then it would have to go to Boyd. 16 league goals so far this season, playing for Kilmarnock, is outstanding. I think some people, myself included, had written him off when he returned to Killie. But he’s shown this season that he’s still got it.
NM: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Boyd hungrier. Sure, he’s always been a goalscorer but he looks rejuvenated and certainly deserves his place on this list. Similarly, McGinn is fast establishing himself as a Scotland international and has been a powerhouse in Hibs’ midfield. Without a doubt, he belongs on this list, but I don’t think this is the season he wins this award.
SB: I’m not sure this award is as clear-cut as the senior one. Kieran Tierney is probably the favourite but I’m not sure he’s played as well as he did last season – although the sheer amount of games that he’s been forced into playing certainly excuses that. I’m a big fan of Alfredo Morelos and for the 21-year-old to score 18 goals in 41 games in his very first season in Scotland – and in a largely malfunctioning Rangers side – is truly remarkable.
NM: So many people write off Morelos due to “that miss” against Celtic. The guy has had a phenomenal season and nobody can argue about his goal-scoring record. I’m pretty sure certain individuals in the mainstream media would be more hesitant to heavily criticise him if he was Barrhead rather than Bogota.
SB: However, if Aberdeen can steal second place off of Rangers and Hibs then I’d suggest Scott McKenna may perhaps deserve this award. He’s truly had a breakthrough season and aside from that Scottish Cup semi-final against Motherwell, I can’t remember a game in which he hasn’t looked like a seasoned pro. He’s certainly ahead of Lewis Morgan (who’s done well but the Championship is the Championship at the end of the day) and deserves as much credit as Tierney or Morelos this campaign.
NM: As much as I’m defending Morelos I think it’s between Tierney and McKenna for this accolade. McKenna did have a horror show against Motherwell but he’s been imperious at the back for Aberdeen this season. Moreover, he looked impressive in his Scotland debut which is exciting for all of us going forward. With regards to Tierney, it was always going to be hard for him, and many of his Celtic teammates, to replicate their form of last season. It could be argued that they’ve been victims of their own success. Conversely, he’s still been immense this year and in all honesty, he’s ridiculously composed for a 20-year-old. I’m confident he could successfully take on both the Celtic and Scotland captaincies. It’s a tight one, but I think Tierney edges it for me.
JC: For me, it’s Tierney by a distance. Morelos has had a good season and he looks to be a real player, but he has a nasty habit of fluffing sitters. It seems that every other week he spurns a chance that, with a little more composure, he could’ve buried. His all-round play has been very impressive, particularly his dribbling, but he needs to become more consistent in front of goal. Tierney might not be having as good a season as the last one, but very few Celtic players are. He’s reached a level of maturity in his game that belies his age and I think he’s going all the way to the top of the sport. Every time I watch him I’m impressed.
NM: After writing a piece on Morgan this week my eyes were fully opened as to just how significant a contribution he makes to St Mirren. That said, while I think he certainly deserves to be nominated he’s playing at a completely different level from the other nominees.
NM: The one that screams out for me is Dylan McGeouch. The Hibs midfielder has been instrumental in the success of Neil Lennon’s side this season alongside McGinn and Scott Allan. The former Celtic man also got his first Scotland call-up albeit he missed out due to injury. He perhaps does a less glamorous job and therefore goes unrecognised, but it cannot be underplayed how vital he is in keeping Hibs ticking over in midfield. He’s the metronome of this team and I feel he certainly merits a nomination.
SB: I’m a little upset Motherwell don’t have any representation here. Alan Campbell has been as good as any young player in Scotland this season – as has central defender Cedric Kipre. With Motherwell, you could perhaps argue that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but to reach two cup finals and have no representation in these awards is a little ridiculous. I also agree on McGeouch. He’s arguably had a better season than McGinn! Similarly, if Hamilton stay up it will almost single-handedly be down to the fantastic work of David Templeton. Oh, and Daniel Candeias has more assists than any other player in the league – shouldn’t that count for something?
JC: I was surprised not to see Kipre on the shortlist for Young Player of the Year. From day one at Motherwell he’s been fantastic and he has to be one of the signings of the season. Kristoffer Ajer could have also made the cut, possibly. For the Player of the Year awards, I think Scott Allan deserves a mention. He’s played for two different clubs this season but he’s just kept doing what he does best – splitting defences apart. Particularly since he joined Hibs, no-one seems to be able to keep him quiet for 90 minutes. Candeias can feel a little hard done by too – I’ve been really impressed with how he’s settled in to life in the Premiership.
NM: I always forget how young Kipre is, but he’s certainly made his presence felt. Whether he’s had a better season than McKenna I’m not sure. That said, I agree on Campbell, I think he can count himself rather unlucky not to be included in the nominees for young player of the year. He really is the heartbeat of that Motherwell midfield and a player that they can really build a team around.