Oil On Troubled Waters
There are only so many players that can make the short list
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall wants to calm down any bad feeling between clubs due to Celtic players being omitted from the PFA Scotland Player of the Year nominees. Parkehead manager Neil Lennon Lennon described the list as a "smack in the face" for his team and argued none of the four on the list, Motherwell's Michael Higdon, Hibs Leigh Griffiths, Inverness' Andrew Shinnie and Aberdeen's Niall McGinn, would get in his team. McCall believes the lack of Celtic players is down to their consistency across the team.The Fir Park manager said: "I think the four lads certainly merit it. They have all been fantastic for their clubs. When I managed to nick in there one year, I think it was (Ally) McCoist, (Andy) Goram and John Collins, and Coisty beat me by one vote. That's what I tell my kids anyway, and they still believe me. I used to vote for the people that had given me the hardest time that season, be it Paul McStay at Celtic, John Collins, Phil O'Donnell when he was here, Eoin Jess at Aberdeen. We certainly didn't go in a big group and vote. I can understand Celtic being disappointed that none of their players are in, but I wouldn't be able to pick which one, because they have had consistently good overall performances from a lot of players. And I think that's why it probably happened. If you look at Aberdeen, I'm sure Niall McGinn will win nearly every one of their player-of-the-years (awards), likewise Leigh Griffiths (at Hibs), probably Michael Higdon here, maybe Lawsy (Nicky Law) pushing him. Up at Inverness it will be Andy Shinnie with probably Billy McKay pushing him. For their clubs they have been the best players. Whether they would get in Celtic's team is a different opinion and I understand that. But you can only vote for one person and I think the people in the top four have fully merited it because they have all had outstanding seasons."Higdon's accolade is further proof of how far he has come since struggling to win over some fans after moving from St Mirren in the summer of 2011. Now Motherwell face a battle to keep him as he considers a contract offer from chief executive Leeann Dempster. McCall said: "We'll have to put a time limit on it but we'll go to the end of the season and see what happens. Leeann has had initial talks with Michael and I know he enjoys his time here. But in the end money talks. In finance terms it would have to be a big offer to take him away. He will be one of our top-paid players, but it's not always about money, and he knows that. It's about being loved where you are and enjoying it and having security and coming to work with a smile on your face, and he is certainly doing that."Motherwell are looking to repeat their 2-1 win over Celtic in February, which heralded the start of their current seven-game unbeaten run. McCall said: "It will count for nothing once the game gets under way but beforehand, because we know we beat them the last time and because we have been on such a good run of form, confidence is high. But they also know they will get nothing unless they work extremely hard like they have been doing. And hopefully show their quality again because we have had some outstanding games this season, some real high-scoring games, and they have been a pleasure to watch. We just want to keep on track for second place, which is the aim now."
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