They say you don’t know anything about football unless you’ve played the game.
Of course, we all know that to be complete nonsense, and we’re provided with undeniable proof once a year when the Players’ association announce the picks from Scotland’s footballers for the end of season awards.
We look at where they got it wrong this time.
Scott Bain picked ahead of Jamie MacDonald in the Premiership team
This is an example of confusing the better player with the better player this season. Bain is an excellent goalkeeper and seems to be the heir to the throne for the Scotland No.1 jersey after Craig Gordon, David Marshall and Allan McGregor all hang up their gloves. However, the best keeper this term has undoubtedly been MacDonald. He pulls off an incredible save every week. If a good goalkeeper is worth 15 points per season, then you can seriously imagine Kilmarnock being just as bad as Dundee United without their custodian.
Alim Ozturk picked ahead of Igor Rossi in the Premiership team
Put simply, Ozturk hasn’t even been the best defender on his team this season. He even missed a couple of months earlier in the campaign through injury. Rossi has been the only consistent member of the back-line and they’ve still managed to record the second best goals against tally in the league, which is down to the steady presence of the Brazilian.
Kenny McLean ahead of Tom Rogic in the Premiership team
McLean has been excellent this season, so this is not an egregious error. However, it seems a little overkill to have four Aberdeen players in the side with only one from the best team in the league. Part of that is to do with Aberdeen, potentially, having a stronger starting XI but weaker squad overall, and the rest is down to Celtic’s players being hindered by the constant dark cloud of negativity hanging over the club. Rogic has established himself as the best No.10 at the club, and best attacking player besides Leigh Griffiths, after a number of eye-catching displays.
Greg Stewart ahead of Lewis Moult or Adam Rooney in the Premiership team
Stewart’s inclusion in the Player of the Year nominees was a strange one. While his goals and assists statistics are excellent, he’s not been as consistent as he was last term and that’s one of the reasons Dundee are in the bottom six despite having three players who earned Team of the Year honours. Rooney could have made it as one of the attackers ahead of Stewart, since he was the league’s second top goalscorer until his injury at the beginning of March, but the more deserving choice would have been Moult. The Motherwell hitman is not just a goalscorer, he does a power of work for the team and always seems to play well.
Danny Rogers ahead of Kevin Cuthbert or Wes Foderingham in the Championship team
It’s always the case that Player of the Year voting follows a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ line of logic. So, perhaps, few players remmebered that the Aberdeen loanee had a very rough start to his time in Falkirk, with the man-of-the-match performance in the Christmas time 2-1 victory over Rangers in front of the TV cameras proving to be a watershed moment in his season. He’s been much improved since, but when considering the best goalkeeper overall the first three months shouldn’t be ignored. Foderingham’s awkwardness with the ball at his feet wrongly has him pinned as ‘error prone’ when he’s only made two real gaffes all season, both of which came at Easter Road, while Cuthbert has been excellent all year behind a stingy Raith defence.
Peter Grant ahead of Lewis Toshney in the Championship team
Grant was the best defender in the league prior to his knee injury at the end of January. However, he’s not played a game since. Surely this should count against him when it comes to the voting, especially when Toshney has been a rock, whether in midfield or defence, for Raith Rovers. It’s safe to say that the Kirkcaldy club have suffered from having a lower profile than Rangers, Hibs or even Falkirk in the eyes of their fellow professionals.
Liam Watt ahead of Michael Paton in the League One team
While they’ve got four out of the 11 players selected, Dunfermline are probably a little under-represented in the League One XI, such was their domination this term. Paton didn’t score quite as many goals as some of the other leading candidates, which explains his exclusion, though he was terrific on the right wing for Dunfermline all year, constantly supplying chances for his team-mates to fire the club back to the second tier.