Ali Price fights back from criticism to win Glasgow’s top player prize

Scotland scrum-half Ali Price has been named Glasgow Warriors’ player of the season a year after being deemed “overweight, heavy and sluggish” by head coach Dave Rennie following the 2018 Six Nations.

Glasgow scrum-half Ali Price, centre, celebrates a try for his side during the 34-10 victory over Edinburgh at Scotstoun last weekend. Picture: SNS/SRU
Glasgow scrum-half Ali Price, centre, celebrates a try for his side during the 34-10 victory over Edinburgh at Scotstoun last weekend. Picture: SNS/SRU

The 25-year-old has bounced back and been rewarded for a string of fine performances during the Scotstoun club’s charge to top the Guinness Pro14 Conference A and secure a home semi-final later this month.

A year ago Price had a day to forget in Cardiff as Scotland were humbled by Wales in the Six Nations opener and lost the national No 9 jersey to Greig Laidlaw but he has fought back to reclaim it, finishing this season’s tournament as Gregor Townsend’s first-choice scrum-half.

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He was voted McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Season and received his award at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow last night, with centre Sam Johnson, who burst impressively on to the international scene and enjoyed some big performances in the Heineken Champions Cup, in second place.

It is the second time Price has been voted Player of the Season by the club’s supporters, having previously taken the prize in 2016-17. Kings Lynn-born Price, who qualifies for Scotland through his mother from Ayrshire, joined Glasgow from Bedford in 2013. He made his Scotland debut against Georgia at Kilmarnock in November 2016 and has since gone on to win 24 caps.

Price has made 18 appearances for Glasgow this season with his seventh try of the campaign coming in the 34-10 win over Edinburgh at the weekend.

He said: “It’s a huge honour to win this award and I’d like to thank the supporters who voted for me.

“We’re excited to be in the Guinness Pro14 semi-final, but we have a lot of hard work ahead of us over the next few weeks.

“It would be amazing to play in the final at Celtic Park later this month in front of our own supporters, but our focus is on preparing for the semi-final in a couple of weeks.”

Centre Stafford McDowall was named young player of the season after a string of impressive appearances. The 21-year-old from Kirkcudbrightshire signed his first professional contract in December and was invited to train with the Scotland Six Nations squad. On Saturday he scored a crucial try in Ayr’s Scottish Cup final win over Heriot’s at BT 

Rob Harley, who now holds the record for most Glasgow Warriors appearances, took home a brace of awards in front of nearly 500 people at the ceremony.

The flanker/lock was presented with the Denholm Oilfield Services Player’s Player of the Season award, having come out on top following a squad vote.

Having made his 200th appearance for the Warriors earlier this season, his ability to play in both the second-row and back-row has been invaluable during the campaign.

Harley’s continued contribution to the club was further recognised by the club’s coaches, with the former West of Scotland man also taking the Famous Grouse Coaches Award for his overall contribution during the season.

Australia-born Johnson’s memorable emergence as a Test centre saw him named as the Harper Macleod Test Player of the Season, following a scintillating debut Guinness Six Nations campaign, which included a storming try at Twickenham during the epic 38-38 Calcutta Cup draw which is up there with one of the best ever by a 
Scotland player.

The SP Energy Networks Community Club of the Season was awarded to Lenzie RFC, whose work in both competition and within their local community saw them recognised by the judging panel.