As Celtic Open Player Of The Year Voting…
We Look At Some Of The “Front-Runners”
Earlier today, Celtic officially opened the voting for this season’s “Player of the Year” awards – for the link, please click here. With this in mind, I’ve decided to take a brief look at some of the candidates I believe may well stand a chance of taking the prestigious title. For the sake of clarity, they are ordered below by playing position, working from the goalkeepers forward, it is not an attempt to sway your opinions one way or another.
It is far from certain that the winner will come from the seven players mentioned below, as that is up to the support to decide, but these selections are, partly, my prerogative, and many of them are individuals being mentioned repeatedly on Twitter. I can only wish all of the players all the best for the future, and thank them all again for the service they continue to give to Celtic Football Club, whether they are mentioned below or not.
“La Gran Muralla”
This season, Fraser Forster has been simply magnificent between the sticks, both at Celtic Park and away from home. His performances in Europe have been of particular note, thanks partly to the added exposure these have received, but domestically he has been, on the whole, very impressive too. Whilst some have questioned a couple of his performances since returning from a slight injury, some of his saves against the likes of Barcelona will live long in the memory of many, including myself. Having travelled to the Camp Nou and sat behind one of the goals, I was fortunate enough to see one of his finest displays first hand. An example to young goalkeepers everywhere, he is gradually proving himself to be the biggest threat to Joe Hart in the English national side, and the Great Wall is a real contender for this season’s award.
“@steventhetim Forster has kept us in games we would maybe have lost otherwise”
“The Unexpected Hero” – Kelvin Wilson
I think it is fair to say that Kelvin didn’t have the best of starts to his Celtic career in his first season at the Club, with the occasional mistake and some poor performances overshadowing many of the good things he did. However, this season, the Englishman has proven himself to be, in my mind and the minds of many others, the best centre back, if not the best defender, in the Celtic squad as a whole. He has dealt expertly with the attacking threats posed by both domestic and European opponents, whilst maintaining an admirably clean disciplinary record. Yes, he’s made a mistake or two, but his performances have improved tremendously, so much so that he has proven the majority of his critics from last season wrong, including myself. He has been fantastic, and even if he doesn’t win the Player of the Year award, he can take heart from the fact he has cemented himself in the Hoops defence for the foreseeable future.
“@GerryCurrie – has to be Kelvin Wilson ! The mount of times he’s saved us this year is ridiculous ! Only mistake this season was at weekend !”
“The Flying Full Back” – Adam Matthews
The inclusion of the young full back in this list may surprise some of you, but I personally feel he is worthy of a mention. The young man has performed admirably, not only against his opponents, but with the competition from fellow full back Mikael Lustig to deal with also. The Swede has been very good in large parts himself, but injury has limited his time in the first team somewhat. However, Matthews has impressed almost constantly, with his performances on both wings, as well as a couple of spectacular goals. His prowess in attack and competence in defence, as well as his agility and ability to read the game, make him a worthy candidate in the minds of many. Notably, along with many of the players mentioned here, it is likely that Adam’s best days still lie in front of him, as he continues to grow and develop as a Celtic player, along with his national side.
“@kevinleyden7 – Adam Matthews really stepped up to the plate this season! Reminds me of watching Jackie McNamara back in the day!”
“The Star Of Nairobi” – Victor Wanyama
At the age of only twenty one, Victor Wanyama is regarded as one of European Football’s rising stars. Whilst possessing an incredible strength and an ability to seemingly win the ball whenever he likes, Victor is far from a brute on the field of play. His game involves physicality, yes, but there is so much more to it than that. The vision of the Kenyan’s passing and his presence in the air have been critical in so many of Celtic’s matches this season, not to mention the goals which he has occasionally chipped in with (against the likes of Barcelona no less). Both at home and abroad, Victor almost always looks comfortable in his surroundings, and generally excels, whether it happens to be at New St Mirren Park or at the Camp Nou. Speculation continues as to whether or not Celtic will be able to hang on to “The Star Of Nairobi” for much longer, but one thing is certain, Victor Wanyama has a huge footballing career in front of him.
“@mickwalsh66 – Has to be Victor he’s had a great season and he’s only going to get better . Would be great to keep him for a few seasons more”
“Captain Fantastic” – Scott Brown
Whilst he has been suffering from a continuing injury complaint throughout the majority of this season, it is undeniable that Scott Brown has played some of his best football in a Celtic shirt in 2012/13 thus far. As is his nature, he shows a dogged determination and will to win on the football park, and, as a Celtic captain should, he has always led from the front when he has been fit enough to play. Some of his performances have been simply inspired, showing a consistency which many feel has been somewhat lacking in the past. In a similar manner to Victor Wanyama, Scott’s physicality is one of the hallmarks of his game, but it is important to remember that he often provides the much needed driving force within the side, pushing the team forward whilst maintaining a relative degree of security at the back. Also, he has contributed a couple of goals as ever. His injuries have certainly prevented him from making as consistent an impact on the team as I’m sure he (and the support) would have liked, but when he has been playing, he’s generally impressed. This is not to say he’s been perfect, but no one has been.
“@joeconoboy92 – Scott Brown, every day of the week! Look a totally different team with him in in, been outstanding in the Champs League as well!”
“Silent But Deadly” – Joe Ledley
Ironically, Joe Ledley is regarded by many supporters as a “quiet” player, in that he goes about his business with minimal fuss, winning the ball back from opponents with both skill and courage, or efficiently receiving a pass, controlling it, and having the vision and ability with which to dispatch it to a team mate in a more advanced position on the field. However, from time to time, he does pop up with a few goals also, and this must not be forgotten. He has also made a few appearances as captain this season, whilst Scott Brown has battled injury, and led with a confidence and strength which has led to some speculation he could be a future Club captain. As one Twitter user beautifully put it, [Joe Ledley is the] “first name on the team sheet for me!” For these reasons, and many more, Joe is certainly a contender.
“@stephen0neill5 – No Brainer. Joe NEVER gives less than 100% and never hides. He gets what we are about and that’s important.”
“The Greek Gazelle” – Georgios Samaras
Now, what can I say about our Greek Colossus? In recent seasons, he has grown and developed both as a footballer and as a man, and can now regard himself as one of, if not the, most admired members of the Celtic squad. At the age of twenty eight, he is seen as an experienced player in a young team, and has shown the way with several critical goals and inspirational performances this season. He scored in every single one of Celtic’s away matches in the qualifiers and group stages of the UEFA Champions League, bettering the Club record for consecutive goals in away European ties set by none other than Henrik Larsson in the process. I doubt there are many supporters reading this who were not leaping about like lunatics upon seeing the ball fly into the net from the Greek’s head as he scored against Spartak Moscow in the final moments in Russia, and this victory was critical not only for this season’s campaign, but for the Club moving into the future, as it helped us to get the proverbial monkey off of our backs once and for all. With fantastic hair, and stunning ability, Samaras is an enigma, a puzzle wrapped within a riddle if you will, but when he’s on form, he’s almost unplayable.
“@Fritters7 – Sammy. Brought consistency into his game this season, been a massive player for us in big games, looks like he’s enjoying himself”
Please feel free to tell us who you will be voting for, and why, in the comments section below. Please also be aware that you will be able to vote for the “Young Player Of The Year” as well. You can cast your votes, here.