After months of waiting, on Monday, it was announced by the SPFL that the Scottish Premiership clubs came to a unanimous agreement that the league campaign couldn’t be completed, therefore the season has been concluded with eight or nine games remaining.
The decision means that Celtic have been announced as champions for the ninth season in a row while Hearts have been relegated to the Championship after just winning four games during a campaign to forget. Rangers and Motherwell will participate in next seasons Europa League and St Johnstone finished sixth despite not being higher than sixth all season. Finally, Hamilton, the club that everyone writes off every single year look forward to their seventh consecutive season in the top-flight.
There is undoubtedly controversy about the way the season was ended, but my personal decision is that it was the right one and it looks as if the SFA have followed the likes of Belgian, French and Dutch associations. Obviously, it would have been fantastic for the season to continue, but the decision has been made, although I don’t think Ann Budge and The Jambo’s have gave up quite yet as she is preparing a proposal which is to be submitted next week.
One thing I love discussing with people at the end of a season is about the Team Of The Season. Everyone has different opinions, and as you will see, I have remained as un-biased as possible as three Motherwell players have made the starting eleven, but are there on merit after admittedly having an outstanding season. Nevertheless, here is my Scottish Premiership Team Of The Season
Goalkeeper: Mark Gillespie – Motherwell
It would be very easy to pick the likes of Celtic’s Fraser Forster or Rangers’ Alan McGregor who have both got the joint-most clean sheets in the league this season, but we all know that is effectively the case as they play for sides who are expected to dominate near enough every game. However, a shout out must go to the 6’7 shot stopper who singlehandedly won Celtic the Betfred Cup against Old Firm rivals Rangers back in December, securing the all important 10 domestic trophies in a row. The choice for me though is Motherwell’s Mark Gillespie.
The Englishman has had an outstanding season and has played a massive role in guiding Motherwell to third spot, securing European football next season. He faced 121 shots last season, saving 87 therefore has a successful save rate of 71% as well as keeping 11 clean sheets in the 30 league games. In recent weeks, the Motherwell man has been linked with Premier League giants Newcastle, who are keen to take the Geordie back to his homeland.
Centre Back: Declan Gallagher- Motherwell
Declan Gallagher is arguably one of the signings of the season for me. After signing on a free transfer from Livingston last summer, he has been a solid addition to the heart of the Motherwell defence and had deservedly received recognition from the Scottish National side. He’s scored two goals this season, won 75% of his tackles( league average 61%) as well as winning 66% of his aerial duels(league average 48%).
Centre Back: Christopher Jullien
Celtic spent big money to secure the signing of Christopher Jullien from Ligue 1 side Toulouse and its fair to say that it’s money well spent. However, if you cast your mind back to the start of the season, you will remember that life at the start in Glasgow was difficult for the Frenchman as he watched a his side embarrassingly drop out of the UEFA Champions League against Cluj. Since though, he’s been a stable character in the middle of the back four and has also helped the development of young Kristoffer Ajer, who has been linked with English clubs such as Everton and Arsenal over the last few weeks. The 27-year-old has been known for popping up on the big occasions, not just for his defensive performances, but also his important goals against Lazio and Rangers to name a few.
Jon Guthrie- Livingston
When Livingston lost Declan Gallagher and Craig Halkett last summer, I’m sure some fans would have been worried about the club trying to replace the duo, but credit has to go Gary Holt who picked up Jon Guthrie on a free from Walsall. I am a huge admirer of The Lions and how they defend, and despite having one of the lowest budgets in the league, they are arguably one of the hardest sides to beat outside the Old Firm and even the champions couldn’t win at Almondvale this season during their two visits. Livingston won the first fixture 2-0, then were minutes away from recording back to back wins as Tom Rogic scored a last minute equalizer. Guthrie has scored six league goals this season which is exceptional for a central defender and its not far off the same amount of goals as their striker, Lyndon Dykes.
Central Midfield: Alexander Gogic- Hamilton
If you know me well, you will know how much I rate Alex Gogic and believe he is the most underrated midfielders in Scotland. He has played a huge role in helping Hamilton avoid relegation this season and is definitely my player of the year at Accies. The Greek is out of contract this summer and it’s no surprise to see a whole list of clubs trying to get his signature. The 26-year-old averaged 8.8 interceptions per game, won 62.2% of his arial duels, had a 62.5% slide tackle success rate and finally had an impressing passing success rate of 68.7% last season. It would be a huge blow should the versatile midfielder move on this summer, However, it’s an opportunity for Scott Martin to come in and fill in that position.
Central Midfield: Alistair McCann- St Johnstone
Another player I believe has been overlooked this season is Ali McCann. The 20 year old was chucked on at half-time during a 7-0 opening day defeat against Celtic. It looked like a sink or swim situation for the youngster, but he put in a fantastic and composed 45 minutes on that occasion and played minutes in every single game for the remainder of the season.
The midfielder also received recognition from the Northern Ireland U21 side now had three caps to his name. In recent weeks Tommy Wright left his role as St Johnstone manager, but was quick to hail McCann stating that “he should be the young player of the season”. He has scored four vital goals this season and although the ball took a while to get rolling for the Perthshire side, the Northern Irishman has been their brightest spark this season.
Central Midfield: Liam Donnelly- Motherwell
Liam Donnelly has been another stand out in the Motherwell team this season. After initially signing as a defender from Hartlepool in 2018, this season the 24-year-old made the transformation to a central midfielder, and that has certainly worked out well. Again, similarly to McCann, Donnelly has been called up to the Nothern Ireland first team and made two appearances. Donnelly scored 11 goals last season, which is seriously impressive for a defensive type of midfielder.
Right Midfield: James Forrest- Celtic
This season has been below the normal standards of James Forrest but he has still managed an impressive 10 goals and 14 assists. This tally is the second-highest in goal contributions in the league where Forrest displays great numbers time and time again. Forrest is a key member for both the Celtic and Scotland squads who can be relied on in big moments. After years of being a good prospect, Forrest has added a good level of consistency to his game and has continued to show his class in the 2019/20 season. James’ younger brother Alan caught the eye at Championship side Ayr United last season and has agreed a pre-contract with Livingston, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he gets on in the next campaign.
Left Midfield: Steven Lawless – Livingston
Stevie Lawless is another one of the fantastic free recruits by Livingston. He has had an outstanding season on the left-wing for the Lions and his contribution is second-to-none. The 29-year old has been involved in 34% of Livingston’s goals this season which is unbelievable. On top of that, Lawless has scored eight goals and provided six assists in 30 league games. He is out of contract next week actually and with the way he has performed this season it will be likely that the Almondvale side are going to have to fight off competition this summer.
Striker: Odsonne Edouard- Celtic
It’s impossible not to include Odsonne Edouard who is clearly the best and most promising talent in the league by a wide margin and is a player who will likely follow in the footsteps of his fellow countryman Moussa Dembele. The Frenchman is a player who can be counted on in big games and the France Under 21 international possesses all the things you want in a striker with skill, technique, strength and speed in abundance. Edouard clearly has a bright future in the game, and it will certainly be interesting to see if he remains at Parkhead this summer as he still has two years left on his contract.
Striker: Alfredo Morelos – Rangers
It’s also hard to not add Alfredo Morelos who continued to be Rangers scape-goat in another season where they were second best to Celtic. Just aged 23, Morelos scored 29 goals in all competitions this season as well as proving 10 assists. He played a major role in helping Rangers through a successful Europa League campaign, scoring 14 goals in 16 games. He scored some memorable goals such such as a the double at at Feyenoord, the Equaliser in Porto and last-gasp winner during the qualifying stages against Legia Warsaw.
A honourable mention must go to Christian Doidge, who I was so close to adding in. The Welshman got off to a slow start at Hibernian, failing to score in his first nine league games. However, following the departure of Paul Heckingbottom, The 27-year-old has excelled under new boss Jack Ross and ended up finishing the season with 18 goals in all competitions, with hat-tricks against St Johnstone and Dundee United. In fact, he probably wasn’t that far away from being called up-to the Welsh national squad this summer.
I’m sure there will be many areas that people will disagree with but I feel with my reasonings that I have been completely fair with my choices. I’ve tried to be different and avoid the Old Firm where I can, but there are some players that need to be in there. Thank you for reading and continue to all stay safe!
Please check out @T2Bpodcast where I will be chatting about this article and share a few stories from the season with my good friend @LewisLaird01