I’m pretty sure Players’ Player of the Year rules oblige nominees to come from more than one club, allowing players the opportunity to vote for at least one opponent, instead of a team-mate. That being the case, we will probably see a token Aberdeen player on the list alongside the Celtic nominees.
This award, voted by the professionals, has been dominated by Celtic players for a lot longer than the league title itself. Di Canio, McNamara, Larsson (twice), Viduka, Sutton, Hartson, Maloney, Namakura, McGeady, Brown, Izaguirre, Mulgrew, Commons, Johansen and Griffiths make an incredible 16 Celtic winners in the last 20 years.
The current holder missed the chance of defending his title after an early season injury kept him out of the team, then the irrepressible form of Moussa Dembele made Leigh’s chances of a sustained run unlikely.
Moussa, alongside Kieran Tierney, are likely to be nominated for both Player and Young Player of the Year. Stuart Armstrong’s late season form may see him nominated, while Tom Rogic’s early season form deserves a shout, but all electorates have notoriously short memories, so Stuart stands a better chance than Tom.
Scott Sinclair has been the transformational element in Scottish football this season. His speed of thought and control are exceptional. He was the player who Celtic battered defences into submission early in the season as Celtic picked up from some nervy European qualification performances, and transformed into a well-oiled machine.
Scott’s performances in his debut season in Scottish football reminds me of a former PotY winner’s debut season. Both arrived as support forwards in their mid 20s. They share the same speed of thought. This instant the ball arrives(d) in their vicinity, the next phase is already underway.
I remember commenting during the season that stopped the 10 that Henrik Larsson was “precious” to Celtic. It was clear he was having a huge impact on the team, but Jackie McNamara and Craig Burley outshone him for many as they picked up the Players’ and Writers’ trophies respectively that season. Henrik’s true talent was still unfolding.
Scott Sinclair’s impact this season has been no less precious. For me he is the stand out Player of the Year. Oh, and the nomination from Aberdeen, I suppose it has to be Ryan Christie, who steadied a stuttering Dons team and helped secure what will surely be second place.
Join prodigious Celtic writer, Paul John Dykes, at the launch of Tom Campbell’s new book, Bobby Evans, Celtic’s forgotten hero, at the Admiral Bar, this Thursday, 6 April, at 7pm. You get register and find all details here.