Yesterday’s announcement of the SPFA player of the year short list was head scratching. It’s been a while since I have written on my blog – I got married – but this matter got me off my backside and onto the keyboard again.
I would like to echo the views by Neil Lennon and of course by many fans and Victor Wanyama. The absence of any Celtic player for the senior award is staggering.
When you consider the quality and performances of Celtic as a team this season, you have to feel sorry for the players in the squad who should have been nominated. Aside from team performance, it was achieved because individual Celtic players stood out time and time again throughout the season.
Gary Hooper has scored 28 goals so far this season across all competitions with the exclusion of the Scottish Cup. That said, I would put my money on him to score in the final next month perhaps being his last match for the club.
Kris Commons has also played a blinder this season with his return to form pivotal to much of Celtic’s attacking play. On top of this he has weighed in with 18 goals in all competitions – pretty decent I think you’ll agree.
Fraser Forster’s giant like goalkeeping has been a huge defence for Celtic at home and abroad. Our pursuit of his signature was not one I fully backed, but he has proved me wrong after two great seasons in goal but still not enough for a nomination it seems.
Victor Wanyama on the other hand has been placed on the Young SPFA award short-list. He is by far one of the most influential players in the Celtic team, in Scotland and having just turned 22 years old in January he has been heavily praised throughout Europe.
I cannot continue without mentioning some of Celtic’s other key players this season though. Joe ‘Reliable’ Ledley rarely gets the plaudits but his steady form is every bit as important as Hooper’s goals or Commons’ creative play.
Adam Matthews has been a fantastic player to watch this season and has emerged from being a bright young talent to influential attacking full back. His darting runs from defence have provided many of Celtic’s attacks and he also managed to shackle attacks from his right back berth.
Along side him is the very able Mikael Lustig. Despite having a very brief shaky start to his Celtic career, the Swede has showed great ability playing in numerous positions across the back line and would not look out of place in any team in Europe.
I cannot end this review without mentioning Georgios Samaras. Though not a regular goal scorer, he has still bagged 12 improtant goals and been a very important player in Europe this season.
The point being made by the Celtic community is that it is extremely hard not to mention any of these guys when awards are being dished out. Their talents this season alone would get them into teams in any of the top leagues.
I don’t believe that it should be a Celtic player (or even one from the extinct club) that wins the top awards every season. It’s judged on merit but this season it seems like there has been an recognition embargo on Celtic.
The club have been flying the flag for this country in Europe. The sad thing is that none of these other Scottish teams provide the strength in any department to do the same.
If these guys on the senior SPFA short-list are as good as suggested then I can only assume that Scottish Football is on the up. The death of our old rivals and our presence in Europe provided other teams to take full advantage but they didn’t take their chance.
I’m pretty sure Celtic took their foot off the gas in the domestic area as well. I am not critical of that because when you have zero challenge, there is less pressure.
This does not change the fact that the performances displayed by the Celtic players are not deserving of a nomination. It is disappointing and insulting.