PFA Scotland revealed on Wednesday that Kilmarnock’s Kris Boyd, Celtic pair Scott Brown and James Forrest, plus Hibs’ John McGinn, were the four candidates for the award voted for by their peers.
Despite an outstanding first season back at Tynecastle, including a club record run of eight successive clean sheets, Berra did not make the shortlist. He was named Hearts Players’ Player of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year earlier this month.
Goalkeeper McLaughlin admitted he expected to see the centre-back’s name at least in contention for the PFA Scotland award.
“Very surprised. Sometimes, unfortunately, our end of the pitch can be slightly overlooked. People like to see goals and flair players, the ones doing the attacking at the sharp end of it. Sometimes the defence’s ability can be overlooked.
“I know it is not overlooked by managers and people working within the game. I think it is a surprise; him, John [Souttar], Aaron [Hughes] now as well have been rocks on the park. Christophe has led that.
“He is a captain off the pitch and he again is a calming influence on those around him. You know how solid he is, how few mistakes he makes and how dominant he can be – and yes, like you say, it’s been overlooked if he has not at least been shortlisted among a few for that award.”
McLaughlin is playing his final few games for Hearts.
His contract is expiring and he has been offered more money in England, where he previously played for Bradford City and Burton Albion.
“Whatever happens it has been a great season and it’s thanks to the gaffer and others associated with Hearts that that has come about,” he said.