SPL: My Team of the Season

Connect in the back of the net
With just three weeks left in the SPL season, it is time to start considering what players have really shone this season. The official awards will be handed out soon, but here I will put forward my best eleven of this year’s Scottish Premier League.

Some choices will no doubt spark controversy, others will perhaps be surprising.

One thing is for certain, football will always create opinions.

In a break from tradition, I am going to line up the team in a 3-5-2 formation as I feel this best utilises the eleven players.

Goalkeeper: Allan McGregor (Rangers)

Taken from the Daily Record

The hardest position to choose for me in this team by an absolute mile. I actually had four options for this position, such has been the standard of goalkeeping in the SPL this season. Before anyone accuses me of bias towards my own Rangers side, let me point out McGregor has been far too overlooked by people this season.

Many have said to me that he hasn’t been his “usual self” this season. With all due respect, that is completely rubbish. Yes, he has made a couple of errors this season including one in an Old Firm derby, but week in week out the Scotsman has produced some terrific saves to win Rangers games or on Sunday against Celtic, stop it from being a real embarrassment.

He is a fantastic shot-stopper and a brilliant leader too. Rival Fraser Forster of Celtic may have more clean sheets and has been superb this season, but McGregor gets the nod as many people simply expect him to do it. He thrives on the expectation brilliantly.

Centre Back: Andy Webster (Hearts)

Taken from BBC

After being ravaged by injury during a three year spell at Rangers (sandwiched with an injury-free spell at Dundee Utd), Webster returned in the summer to boyhood club Hearts. His performances at the back for the Tynecastle have been very consistent and extremely solid. 

At times this season his club have been in big turmoil, but Webster’s displays have been quality personified. He already has two Scottish Cup medals to his name and will be looking for a third later this month which is testamount to his determination as a professional.

Centre Back: Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic)

Taken from the Guardian

After some solid displays last season, the Celtic defender has been a revelation this season at the heart of the champions defence. Although he had some shaky displays in the first quarter of the season, he has been superb since then. 

A brilliant set-piece taker, he has now added real quality to the defending side of his game. He still has his critics, but even I have to say there’s not much he’s done wrong this season.

Centre Back: Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers)

Taken from the Daily Record

The American captain has proved to be a brilliant signing by Rangers manager Ally McCoist. In a turbulent season for the Ibrox club, Bocanegra has been almost rock solid for the whole season, leading his team from the back.

His reading of the game is top-notch; his passing sublime and he rarely let’s a striker bully him or get the better of him.

The best word to describe Bocanegra: Classy.

Right Midfield: Sone Aluko (Rangers)

Taken from Caught Offside

Just edging out his wing rival at Celtic James Forrest, Aluko’s performances since arriving at Rangers have been sensational. After losing Steven Naismith to injury, Rangers badly needed a creative spark. Although his efforts have been in vain, he has put a real smile on the fans faces.

Blessed with great pace and an eye for goal Aluko has scored 7 goals in 16 appearances, most of which have been superb, in particular his three free-kicks.

It remains to be seen whether he’s going to be at the club next season, but for the moment, Rangers fans should savour every moment he’s on the pitch.

Centre Midfield: Dean Shiels (Kilmarnock)

Taken from Football 365

A surprising choice to many when the player of the year awards were announced but not for me.

His performances have enabled Kilmarnock to have an extremely successful season, narrowly missing out on the top 6 but the Ayrshire club also picked up their first trophy in 15 years as they won the League Cup.

Pitching in with 14 goals this season, the Northern Irishman has really excelled under his father Kenny’s management with a series of great attacking displays and passionate performances.

Centre Midfield: Kenny McLean (St Mirren)

Taken from STV

St Mirren have played some fantastic football this season and the Scottish Under 21 international has been a key player. 

Although he has missed part of the season through injury, he has linked up superbly with the strikers and chipped in with four goals himself.

A young man with real potential to go onto big things due to his nice touch and good pace, he thoroughly deserves his nomination for young player of the year.

Centre Midfield: Victor Wanyama (Celtic)

Taken from Goal

What a revelation the young Kenyan has been in Neil Lennon’s side this season.

A series of brilliantly athletic displays have been a major factor in Celtic winning their first championship in four years.

He drives forward from midfield superbly, but can also play in the defence where any striker would struggle against his muscle.

Left Midfield: Gary Mackay Steven (Dundee United)

Taken from The Courier

Here’s another player who has been a revelation this season.

Now firmly established in the Utd side, he has lit up Tannadice and other SPL sides with some fantastic wing displays.

He has a bag of tricks that have constantly left defenders bamboozled and in his wake and a blistering turn of pace that is a joy to watch.

It surely cannot be long before the Scotland Under 21 international plays for the full national team.

One of the real finds of the season that has regularly put a smile on my face.

Striker: Jon Daly (Dundee United)

Taken from Sporting Life

Often criticised for being lazy, the Irishman has made his critics eat their words this season with a phenomenal 18 league goals and 21 overall.

He is currently sitting top of the SPL scoring charts which is a great achievement for anyone playing outwith the Old Firm.

Helped by Mackay-Steven and Johnny Russell’s creativity, the big targetman has been consistent all season.

He has a real eye for goal and those finishes have kept his side in the hunt for a Champions League place.

Striker: Gary Hooper (Celtic)

Taken from the Telegraph

I love this striker (except when he’s scoring against Rangers of course). He is a born finisher who is also a great all-round striker.

He has already scored 24 goals this season in all competitions beating last year’s goal tally of 22, which is already attracting interest from clubs in England such as Southampton.

He proved it on the big stage as well scoring in Europe against Udinese and Rennes.

For me, he is Neil Lennon’s key asset and simply cannot be sold if Celtic want to challenge on the European front next season as well as retaining their SPL.

So there you go. I doubt no one elses team will be the same, which is the beauty of viewing eye as a football fan.

Let the debate begin.

Written by Ewan McQueen
Follow him on Twitter @ewanfootball

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