The Scottish Football Oscars 2011-12

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It might seem a bit early to push this out, but what the hell, the season is realistically finished.

What an odd year it has been: Celtic actually winning something, Rangers being plunged into financial meltdown and Aberdeen having yet another horror season. All odd except the last bit, I think you’ll find.

So here is a semi-serious look at the great and the good of Scottish football.

 

Team of the year

Realistically, one must pay tribute to the recently crowned champions, Celtic. To recover from the handicaps of such a bad start to the season and having Daniel Majstorovic as their main centre half, it is all credit to the East End club that they went on an unbeaten run from October to March.

Despite Rangers’ ten-point deduction, their erratic form pre and post administration would not have mounted a sufficient challenge to Neil Lennon’s charges.

Honourable mentions to Motherwell and Kilmarnock for their efforts.

 

Manager of the year 

I could go for Neil Lennon, but I won’t. Stuart McCall, however, is deserving of this accolade. Looking comparatively at the hand he has been drawn – massive budget, superior players and main rivals staging a Krakatoaesque self-destruction – Neil Lennon was duty bound to win the SPL.

The former Rangers midfielder however, with limited budget, has harnessed together a young squad who, through some skill, thoroughly deserve third place in the League. Plus kudos to him for still having the same haircut as he did in 1991.

Kenny Shields, despite having an annoying shock jock quality about him, gets a curt nod of approval for what he is trying to do at Kilmarnock.

 

Player of the season

Celtic’s Charlie Mulgrew has been very, very good. Quite fitting that he scored the goals at Kilmarnock that won them the championship.

 

Signing of the season

Celtic’s Victor Wanyama, for his strength, quality and skill on the ball to paraphrase George Galloway, has been an excellent buy, and one suspects, a very sellable asset too.

Second place would probably have to go to Sone Aluko at Ibrox, who has been one of a thimbleful of bright points in Rangers’ turbulent campaign.

 

Game of the season

Rangers 3-2 Celtic (25 March 2012) As Ibrox basked in sunlight those watching the Glasgow derby were faced with two possible outcomes.

A Celtic title win over a badly bruised Rangers, or a show of defiance. The latter was served up in massive quantities, as the Light Blues passed and outfought the then champions elect off the park.

It had controversy, a wonderful individual goal by Sone Aluko and Neil Lennon apparently not swearing at the referee.

 

Unsung hero

John Daly at Dundee United has been superb, with a fine goal tally for the Tangerines. Yet strangely not much interest in him from the Glasgow two or clubs in England.

Adam Matthews has also patrolled Celtic’s right flank with great aplomb relatively unnoticed.

 

Worst Signing

Rangers trio Alejandro Bedoya, Matt McKay and Juanama Ortiz could all easily have walked away with the “Bert Konterman/Du Wei Lifetime Achievement Award for being a frankly very strange signing”.

However, Celtic’s Mohammad Bangura, who has performed an invisible man act of supreme proportions since being signed from AIK for £2 million takes the biscuit. No goals. Just invisibility.

 

The Ebbe Skodval Award

Named in honour of the esteemed man who almost did the deed of getting Aberdeen relegated, Pat Fenlon deserves all the plaudits for his work at crisis club Hibs. How he is still in employment I have no idea. Hibs are frankly atrocious, and I for one hope it continues.

Over in Gorgie, I expected more from Paulo Sergio at Hearts, while up in the grim North, old Craig Brown has been hugely ineffectual at the delusional former big club that is Aberdeen.

 

Cult Hero

Dieter Van Tornhout of Kilmarnock will never have to buy a pint in Ayrshire again after his goal led Kilmarnock to victory against Celtic. Points are also won for his smashing name. The stuff cult dreams are made of.

 

Man of the hour

Ally McCoist has given us all a lesson in dignity, class and patience since Rangers have gone into administration. There may be doubts over his managerial skills, but he has lived up to his nickname of “Super” in a role as a figurehead.

 

The David Murray Award for 

Villainy

The eponymous “Captain of Industry” and Craig Whyte. Need I say more?

 

Quote of the season

“Listen, I’ve been a stand-up guy in all of this.” Craig Whyte, speaking to the one and only Jim White, at that point biting his tongue, as Rangers go into administration.

 

Defining moment

Speaking from a footballing point of view, and not taking into account of all that has engulfed Rangers, we must cast our minds back to October.

A grey day, in which Celtic somehow managed to come from three goals down to draw with Kilmarnock.

Later that day at Ibrox, Rangers are leading against St Mirren, with an already sizeable gap over Celtic. They concede a late goal, and from that day, the two teams went down completely different paths. One was confident, the other seemed lost.

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