Stefan Johansen and Jason Denayer win PFA awards

AN ALREADY memorable weekend for Celtic became even better last night when midfielder Stefan Johansen and on-loan defender Jason Denayer won the Cheque Centre PFA Scotland player and young player of the year awards at a dinner in Glasgow.

Stefan Johansen (left) joins young player of the Year Jason Denayer. Picture: SNS
Stefan Johansen (left) joins young player of the Year Jason Denayer. Picture: SNS

John Hughes was named manager of the year after guiding Inverness Caledonian Thistle to the Scottish Cup final and to their current position of third place in the league.

Scott Allan, the Hibernian midfielder, collected the Championship player of the year award ahead of three Hearts players, Alim Ozturk, Jamie Walker and Morgaro Gomis.

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The 24-year-old Johansen was voted the best player in Scotland following his first full season in the country.

Stefan Johansen (left) joins young player of the Year Jason Denayer. Picture: SNS

He scored 12 goals as Celtic lifted both the league title and League Cup, beating fellow nominees Adam Rooney of Aberdeen and Dundee’s Greg Stewart as well a clubmate Virgil van Dijk to the award.

Denayer, the 19-year-old centre-half on loan from Manchester City, took the young player of the year award prior to returning to his parent club. He was unsure whether there was any chance he might return to Celtic Park next season. “I need to wait until summer and see what is going to happen,” he said.

On the subject of Johansen’s win, Denayer added: “I’m not surprised Stefan is the player of the year because he has played very well in a lot of the games from the start of the season until the end. Stefan is a technical player who can dribble with the ball and can defend,” he added. “I’ve not really played with a player of his style before.”

Hughes beamed with pride at being manager of the year ahead of Celtic’s Ronny Deila, Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes and Robbie Neilson, who led Hearts back into the Premiership in his first season in charge.

Stefan Johansen collects the PFA Scotland Player of the Year Award. Picture: SNS

“I am quite emotional and overwhelmed that I have won,” said Hughes. “I only went into football for the love of it, into coaching for the love of it. I get paid for something I love.

“I am a humble guy, this is a bit embarrassing for me. I never felt I would be up there picking up a manager of the year from my peers when I came into football. But it is not about me. I hope it is a reflection of what we are doing up in Inverness.”

Allan’s award was a boost ahead of Hibs’ attempt to gain promotion to the Premiership via the play-offs. He triumphed over Ozturk, Walker and Gomis, who earned title medals with runaway leaders Hearts.

The 23-year-old joined Hibs last summer after his release from West Bromwich Albion, and following various loan spells with several English clubs. Allan has credited Hibs with re-igniting his career this season, after speculation linking him with a move to Rangers. The Easter Road club also turned down two bids from Dundee United, Allan’s first club, on the last day of the transfer window.

St Mirren’s Stephen Mallan won the goal of the season award for his stunning solo effort against Dundee in his side’s 3-1 win at Dens Park in December.

Declan McManus, the Morton striker who is on loan from Aberdeen, won the League 1 player of the year award, crowning a perfect weekend for him.

McManus scored 23 goals this season, his last one coming in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Peterhead which secured the League 1 title.

Arbroath striker Bobby Linn won the League 2 award after scoring 13 goals for his side, who have secured a play-off place.