The nominees for both the PFA Scotland Player and Young Player of the Year awards have been announced. Eight stars across six difficult clubs have made their way to the final four, but who are those harshly left off?
Dylan McGeouch (for Player of the Year)
Fellow pros love John McGinn. That’s two years in a row where the Hibs midfielder has been nominated for the top individual award in his division (last season it was the Championship, this term the Premiership) without winning the award for his own club.
While there’s an overall McGinn v McGeouch debate to be had, the general consensus this term seems to be that McGeouch had the stronger campaign so it’s harsh to see him omitted in favour of his team-mate.
Kieran Tierney (for Player of the Year)
James Forrest seemed a certainty for a nod just a couple of months ago, but he’s been very quiet since his hat-trick against Partick Thistle in early February. Celtic deserve two players in the final list because, despite their faults, they’ve still been easily the best team this season. However, are we so sure that Forrest is definitely the second best player overall? Perhaps Tierney, with his greater consistency of performance, would have been deserving instead.
Christophe Berra (for Player of the Year)
A few months ago, this writer wrote an article saying that, at the time, Berra was the leader for Player of the Year. And, at the time, it was probably true. However, since then Hearts have failed to maintain their form while Berra, pretty much flawless until then, has made a few errors which have led to goals. He still maybe should have been recognised over the piece with a nomination, what with Hearts holding the second best defence in the league despite having a fairly poor squad apart from their captain. Although, looking at those who made it, it’s difficult to say who should be left out. He’s been more consistent than the rest apart from Brown, but it’s easier to be a reliable centre-back than an attacker or all-action midfielder.
Moussa Dembele (for Young Player of the Year)
Seeing Morelos on the Young Player list and not Dembele is something which is sure to rankle with Celtic fans. Yes, it’s not been the best season for the striker, but he’s still netted 15 goals. It’s three short of Morelos’ overall tally, but while the Ibrox striker has largely feasted on the weak, Dembele has netted goals against Hibs, Aberdeen, Hearts and, most importantly, Rangers.
Olivier Ntcham (for Young Player of the Year)
Lewis Morgan has certainly generated more headlines this year than his soon-to-be Celtic training mate, but can you justify someone from a lower tier grabbing a nomination ahead of another talented youngster in the league above? Ntcham may have had matches where he’s gone missing, but he’s also had games where he’s dominated the midfield area and is widely viewed as being a member of Celtic’s strongest starting XI. We can’t really assume the same about Morgan.
Greg Docherty (for Young Player of the Year)
It could well be the case that moving to Rangers has actually hurt Docherty’s Young Player of the Year candidacy. At Hamilton he was the star man, leading the club towards another season of defying the critics and naysayers to remain in the top flight. While he received praise for his play after initially signing on at Ibrox, his overall contribution to the campaign has been lost in the circus surrounding the club.
Kristoffer Ajer (for Young Player of the Year)
As is the case with Berra, this could be a case of someone being omitted in favour of attacking players who’ve also shone. Though fellow centre-back Scott McKenna made the list, he’s played in more games than Ajer. The Norwegian may also have had his bid weakened by the Celtic vote opting en masse for Tierney.