The Scottish Premiership took something of a back seat to the League Cup final and…
December was a truly outstanding month of football in the Scottish Premiership and across each team and division there were some stand-out performers. Looking at the data, here are the best players from each position.
Every month TheTwoPointOne chooses the Scottish Premiership players of the month for the Sunday Herald. This article initially appeared in the paper on Sunday, January 7 .
When it comes to goalkeeping the only real stats that one can be judged upon are the shots that were kept out of the net. As such, when we break each shot-stopper in the Premiership down based on the amount of reflex saves they made over the month of December we get a rather clear winner.
With 19 saves over the course of eight games, Tomas Cerny was not only the busiest goalkeeper in the division but clearly one of Alan Archibald’s clear performers as the Glasgow side battled out of bottom spot.
With wins over Aberdeen and Hibs and an impressive draw at Celtic Park, Rangers can confidently say they had a good December. And in defence much of that success came through full-back James Tavernier.
With 73 defensive duels (interceptions, tackles, headers, etc) over the course of the month, the English right-back was undoubtedly the most involved defender in the Premiership and by quite a margin. His nearest competitor was Dundee’s Cammy Kerr, who managed just 62 duels in the same period.
Arguably Rangers’ best player against Celtic just a week ago, there’s no denying that when Tavernier is on his game Rangers look significantly better and tend to pick up better results.
Midfielders – particularly attacking midfielders – are a dime a dozen in the Premiership this season and December was yet again another month which showcased just how many exciting, attacking players there are to pick from.
When it came down to which player offered the best service and goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates, the obvious answer was Rangers’ winger Daniel Candeias. No Premiership player had more key passes than the former Benfica player and he also had two assists to boot.
However, in the modern game attacking midfielder are expected to chip in with goals too and that’s where James Forrest pipped ahead of his Rangers counterpart. Few would deny that the Celtic wideman is enjoying a rejuvenated season and to add so many goals and assists to his game is a mark of the fantastic work he’s doing at Celtic Park.
When it comes to strikers and natural goalscorers the Premiership is also blessed with a number of young, attacking talents that still have so much potential to fulfill. Moussa Dembele and Alfredo Morelos are the most obvious examples, but there are others in the likes of Oliver Shaw, Craig Tanner and Blair Spittal. However, December was a month that saw the old guard claw back some control with Kris Boyd regaining the kind of goal-scoring form that made him such a star throughout the SPL era.
Kilmarnock went the whole of December without suffering a single defeat and a huge part of that was the six goals the towering striker managed to convert in six games. Not only that, but the Killie captain also downed his former club with a 2-1 win at Rangers, as well as crucial goals to earn draws at Dingwall and Easter Road.
Despite a really high standard of performances in December, there’s no denying that very few of the Premiership’s in-form players played as vital a role in their team’s results quite like Boyd. Tavernier, Forrest and even Cerny are somewhat replaceable for their respective teams, yet replacing the goals Boyd brought to Steve Clarke’s side would have been a truly mamoth task.