The four players to have won Scottish football’s triple crown

Paul McStay won the top three awards throughout his Celtic career. Picture: SNS
Paul McStay won the top three awards throughout his Celtic career. Picture: SNS
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The Scottish Football Writer’s Footballer of the Season, PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year and PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year have been awarded together for 39 years now. Only four players have won all three of the awards.

Leigh Griffiths (Celtic)

Scottish Football Writer’s Footballer of the Season 2012-13, 2015-16

PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year 2015-16

PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year 2012-13

The 25-year-old Celtic striker achieved the triple crown this season with his first PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year award. Undoubtedly not only the standout for his club, but also the league. His 30 goals have fired an otherwise stuttering Hoops side to the Premiership title. As one of the bright sparks in the side the writer’s also bestowed their acclaim on the forward.

Three seasons ago, those in the know also gave him the same award. While his fellow professionals recognised him to be the outstanding young talent in the division. He found himself playing for his boyhood club Hibernian on a six-month loan after a £150,000 move to Wolverhampton Wanderers from Dundee. After half-a-season of bedding in at Easter Road, Griffiths found form with 23 goals, finishing behind Motherwell’s Michael Higdon in the scoring charts.

READ MORE - Leigh Griffiths won’t go to Hampden to watch Hibs in final

Barry Ferguson (Rangers)

Scottish Football Writer’s Footballer of the Season 2002-03

PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year 2002-03

PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year 1998-99

Barry Ferguson is the only Rangers player ever to accomplish this rare feat. Having made sporadic appearances under manager Walter Smith, it was Dick Advocaat that made him a first team regular in the side’s sixth treble win during the 1998-99 campaign. Though he missed the run-in through injury, his performances up until the latter stages of the season convinced the Dutch coach to give him a six-year-deal.

Four years after breaking through for Rangers and Scotland, he would become the outstanding talent in the league as he added goals to his game, 16 of them to be exact. This was the only time the former national team captain had found the net more than eight times in his career. The central midfielder was the vital cog in another treble-winning side. All the plaudits saw the Premier League calling and he moved down to Blackburn Rovers later that summer.

Now retired from playing, he has taking up the position as manager of Clyde in League Two.

Charlie Nicholas (Celtic)

Scottish Football Writer’s Footballer of the Season 1982-83

PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year 1982-83

PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year 1980-81

The first player to achieve the triple crown and the quickest to do so. At the age of 18 “Champagne” Charlie was subbed on for Frank McGarvey and never looked back. The teenager from Glasgow scored the last of his 28 goals of the campaign against Rangers on the way to lifting the SPL trophy. This unsurprisingly seen him named the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year.

Following that up was always going to be difficult, and it was harder than the forward expected. Having lost his place in the side to George McClusky, it was made worse by the broken leg that he suffered in a friendly against Morton at the turn of the year.

He battled back to regain fitness for the 1982-83 campaign and earned his place in the starting line up once again. With impressive displays in Europe, the attention from down south started to grow. Even with Nicholas’s 48 goals in all competitions, Celtic’s only trophy was the League Cup and Arsenal persuaded him down south after winning the player’s and the writer’s award.

After finishing his career at Clyde, Nicholas has gone on to work in the media. Most prominently for Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday.

READ MORE - Leigh Griffiths aims to make Player of the Year history

Paul McStay (Celtic)

Scottish Football Writer’s Footballer of the Season 1987-88

PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year 1987-88

PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year 1982-83

Nicholas had an outstanding 1982-83 campaigm and his teammate Paul McStay did not go unnoticed. The emerging 18-year-old midfielder did enough on the pitch to be seen as the outstanding young talent in Scotland. His ability was being sought after abroad as Inter Milan tabled a two million pound bid that summer. However, McStay would go on to stay at Parkhead throughout his long career and went on to make over 650 appearances for the Bhoys.

Four years later and having established himself as an experienced head in the center of the pitch, McStay helped his team to his third and final league win to go along with a Scottish Cup victory. Those in the know saw fit that the former European U18s champion be acknowledged as the best player in the nation.

In 2010, over a decade after he stopped playing professionally, he emigrated to Sydney, Australia and formed Maestro Sport, a software company specialising in sports coaching and management.

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