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Our Scottish football awards

11 May 2010 10:40:00

Our Scottish football awards

ow the dust has settled on another season, TEAMtalk contributor Gareth Friel hands out his Scottish awards for the campaign. Player of the Year: Steven Davis (Rangers) Other contenders: David Weir (Rangers), Anthony Stokes (Hibernian), Andy Webster (Dundee Utd) It will be no surprise that the player of the year comes from champions Rangers, far and away the best side in the SPL this season. Steven Davis was the ceative spark behind the Gers' title success, whether from the right of midfield or in the centre. The Northern Ireland international is a classy performer, setting up a countless number of Rangers' 82 SPL goals. Despite all their financial problems, Davis is the one player the champions cannot afford to lose in the summer. Davis' Rangers team-mate David Weir has been a rock at the heart of a defence that conceded only 28 goals in 38 league games despite turning 40 the day after being presented with the SPL trophy. Weir has also helped immensely with the development of teenager Danny Wilson, who looks set to join Liverpool in the coming weeks. Andy Webster, on loan at Dundee Utd from Rangers, was another impressive performer at the back, putting his injury problems behind him and winning a place back in the Scotland squad. Webster is a big part of the reason United finished third and are in the Scottish Cup final. With Weir out of contract at Ibrox, and the Wilson set to depart, Webster could become a key figure for Walter Smith next season. At the other end of the field, Anthony Stokes struck 21 goals as Hibs secured a Europa League place by winning on the last day of the season at Dundee United. And he proved he can produce the goods when it matters most, netting twice against derby rivals Hearts, and twice against both sides of the Old Firm. His strike against Rangers in December was the quickest in SPL history at 12.4 seconds. Manager of the Year: Derek McInnes (St Johnstone) Other nominations: Walter Smith (Rangers), Billy Reid (Hamilton), Terry Butcher (Inverness), Alan Moore (Stirling Albion), Danny Lennon (Cowdenbeath). While Walter Smith led Rangers to the title despite the financial uncertainty at Ibrox, it's another SPL manager who shone brightest for me. St Johnstone made a big impact on promotion back to the SPL, so much so that at no stage were they ever seriously involved in a relegation battle. Indeed, they came close to gate-crashing the top six, just being edged out by Hearts. Not only were their results impressive, Derek McInnes' men are also pleasing on the eye. Their attacking play won them many plaudits and if it was entertainment you were after then the Perth Saints were the side to watch - they were the fourth-top scorers in the SPL and actually had the leakiest defence. They certainly enhanced the SPL and kept up their impressive cup performances in recent years by reaching the semis of the Co-operative Insurance Cup. For that reason, McInnes is our pick as manager of the year. Smith somehow managed to get his Rangers side to grind out result after result despite the uncertainty surrounding the club and being forced to sell Pedro Mendes in the January transfer window. The team spirit Smith has fostered at Ibrox was evident over the course of the season as late strikes and one-goal wins saw them leave Tony Mowbray's Celtic trailing. Smith also led the Gers to a Co-op Cup win against St Mirren despite having only nine men - any new owner of Rangers will be desperate for Smith to stay on. Game of the Season: Motherwell 6 Hibernian 6 It's hardly surprising that the highest-scoring game in SPL history is our game of the season. With both sides going for fourth place and a Europa League spot, it was always going to be an entertaining affair. Hibs started brightly and Colin Nish struck twice early on, either side of a Giles Coke equaliser. Derek Riordan made it 3-1 and Nish completed his hat-trick before John Sutton made it 4-2 just before half time. Hibs looked home and dry and heading for their finest result of the season when Anthony Stokes netted twice to make it 6-2. But no-one could have forseen the events of the last 23 minutes. Coke and Tom Hateley reduced the deficit to two before Sutton took advantage of some weak defending to make it 6-5 - and there was still 14 games to go. Just when Hibs thought they had seen it through, Lukas Jutkiewicz struck a fantastic volley past Graeme Smith to make it 6-6 and complete one of the most thrilling games for many a season. Gaffe of the Season: Steven Pressley "Make no mistake about it, Falkirk will stay in the Premier League" This quote came back to haunt Steven Pressley when the Bairns failed to beat Kilmarnock and were relegated to the First Division. To be fair to Pressley, he was left a thankless task by Eddie May - but then Pressley was part of May's coaching staff. Self-belief is one thing but Pressley made himself look foolish at his first press conference. And he riled a number of SPL managers with his touchline manner while some of his comments didn't go down well among his more experience counterparts. He will have his work cut out in the First Division.


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