Which Rangers players are in line for player of the year - and our choice right now

The Scottish Premiership trophy will soon be taking pride of place in the Ibrox trophy room as Rangers close in on their first major domestic honour in a decade.

Allan McGregor has produced a string of outstanding performances for Rangers at home and in the Europa League this season. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

But while the destination for the country’s biggest collective prize has been an inevitability for some time now, the outcome of the race for individual silverware remains competitive and intriguing.

The only certainty, surely, is that it will be Steven Gerrard’s squad who dominate the voting when both the Scottish Football Writers’ Association and PFA Scotland start casting their ballots for the country’s two highest profile Player of the Year awards.

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No Rangers player has lifted either prize since the 2009-10 season when defender David Weir won the SFWA’s prestigious and longest-established honour and midfielder Steven Davis was the choice of his fellow professionals.

Rangers captain James Tavernier and central defender Connor Goldson have both been pillars of the consistency achieved by Steven Gerrard's squad. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Eleven years on, the indefatigable Davis is among the contenders once more with Rangers manager Steven Gerrard indicating recently that the veteran midfielder would probably get his vote.

But Davis is just one of at least six members of Gerrard’s relentlessly consistent team who would be considered worthy recipients of the Player of the Year plaudits. So who is likely to emerge as Rangers’ first among equals?

Allan McGregor

The veteran goalkeeper started the season nursing an injury and seemingly faced a credible challenge for the number one jersey from summer signing Jon McLaughlin, who kept clean sheets in all of his first six appearances.

Midfielder Steven Davis (L) is Rangers manager Steven Gerrard's pick as Player of the Year, while team-mates Ryan Kent and Borna Barisic (R) have also been influential mainstays for the Ibrox side. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

But since returning to the side, McGregor has been in imperious form. He has delivered some hugely influential displays, keeping 18 clean sheets so far and regularly making the kind of exceptional match-defining saves which set elite goalkeepers apart from the rest.

At 39, McGregor is as good as he has ever been and Rangers won’t do any better piece of business this summer than if they can persuade him to sign a new contract and push his body through at least one more season.

James Tavernier

For the first half of this season, the Rangers captain looked a shoo-in for the Player of the Year prizes.

The right-back was not only part of a defence which set new standards of miserliness in the Premiership, he also added his considerable attacking skills to the mix with devastating effect.

Tavernier has scored 17 goals and provided 15 assists so far. While he has been less demonstrably influential in terms of those numbers since the turn of the year and is currently sidelined by a knee injury, Tavernier has to be firmly in the mix when it comes to picking the campaign’s star man.

Connor Goldson

Gerrard describes his central defender as an ‘absolute mountain’ and there’s no question he has been the towering presence at the heart of a back four which has kept 28 clean sheets in the 42 games played so far.

Remarkably, Goldson has appeared in all 3,780 minutes of those fixtures and has played more club football than any other player in Europe this season.

A vocal and dominant figure, Goldson also poses a threat at the other end of the pitch where he has scored eight times for a team in which goals have been spread widely throughout the squad.

Borna Barisic

The Croatian international left-back is one of Rangers’ biggest assets and his value could soar further if he makes an impact for his country at the rescheduled Euro 2020 finals this summer.

Like Tavernier on the opposite flank, Barisic plays a key role in the attacking strategy of Gerrard’s team. The 28-year-old’s delivery into the penalty area is regularly of the highest standard and his dead ball expertise is another telling weapon in Rangers’ armoury.

Barisic has been durable and consistent this season, tightening up his defensive qualities and delivering four goals and 13 assists at the other end of the pitch.

Steven Davis

It’s not difficult to see why Davis would be his manager’s pick for Player of the Year. At 36, the Northern Ireland captain is a model of consistency and has a capacity to dictate play from the centre of the pitch which Gerrard, as a former midfielder himself, appreciates more than most.

Rangers are not short of high quality options in that department - Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack also bring a solidity and level of game intelligence which underpins the effectiveness of Gerrard’s preferred 4-3-3 system.

But Davis has a level of assurance and tactical awareness matched by few players currently operating in Scottish football.

Ryan Kent

There has been a curious perception among some Rangers supporters that they are not seeing the kind of impact they should from the £7.5 million former Liverpool winger.

It’s not a view given any credence by Gerrard or his coaching staff – and rightly so. Kent’s headline numbers are more than passable this season with nine goals and 11 assists to his credit so far.

But it’s the less glamorous side of Kent’s game which makes him just as important to Rangers’ success. The selfless manner in which he closes down opponents and tracks back to help his defence is admirable and helps ratify him as yet another Player of the Year contender.

My choice

As a member of the SFWA, this correspondent is privileged to have a say in who receives the country’s pre-eminent award which dates back to 1965.

It’s a long time since there have been so many outstanding candidates and difficult to recall when one club has been so dominant in providing them.

There are still a few weeks to go before the votes are cast and, like most of my colleagues, I remain open to persuasion.

But if the deadline for the ballot was today, Allan McGregor would be my choice. His winning mentality has spread through Gerrard’s side this season and he remains, by a distance, Scotland’s most accomplished goalkeeper.

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