Like Neil Lennon, I’m staggered not one Celtic player made the shortlist for PFA Scotland’s Player of the Year.
But history shows, in a democratic voting system, these things happen. Having been involved in the Scottish Football Writers’ Player of the Year, both as President and a committee member, I know only too well how a split vote can prevent the winner coming from the leading club of that season. You can have too many good players for your own good.
Brian McClair (below) won both the players’ and journalists’ awards in 1987 despite Celtic winning nothing. Rangers lifted the title and League Cup, St Mirren won the Scottish Cup and Dundee United reached both UEFA and Scottish Cup Finals.
Yet the Celtic striker won both individual accolades, as the vote was spread amongst the likes of Terry Butcher, Ally McCoist and Dave Narey.
There are other examples.
While Celtic were in the midst of their nine-in-a-row under Jock Stein, and just a year after they’d lifted the European Cup, Gordon Wallace of Raith Rovers won the Football Writers’ award.
His 27 goals in 34 games kept the Kirkcaldy club in the top flight in 1968. I’ve known these awards won by landslide margins and witnessed dead heats. Eight years ago, Celtic striker John Hartson and Rangers defender Fernando Ricksen actually shared the players’ own award after the vote had been evenly split.
The voting process for this season’s Football Writers’ Award has just started, and I envisage my fellow members being confronted with the same problem as the players.
Celtic, easily the outstanding team, have numerous worthy winners for these individual accolades.
However, with no matches against Rangers this season there has been no Old Firm drama to tip the balance the way of one particular individual.
That’s just another negative for Celtic while the Light Blues remain away from the top table.
Not that the Glasgow giants’ rivalry prevented non-Old Firm players from winning these awards in the past. Apart from Wallace, Pat Stanton, Martin Buchan, Andy Ritchie, Gordon Strachan, Alan Rough, Paul Sturrock, Willie Miller, Hamish McAlpine, Alex McLeish, Sandy Jardine (as a Hearts player) and Maurice Malpas are previous recipients of the SFWA trophy.
Paul Hegarty, Mark McGhee, Sandy Clark, Willie Miller, Jim Duffy, Richard Gough, Theo Snelders and Jim Bett have been honoured by their fellow players.
Who am I voting for this season? Kris Commons.
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