As another dramatic Scottish Premiership season draws to a close, Kris Boyd and Andy Walker have picked their teams of the season.
Rangers’ dominant title win saw Boyd select nine players from Steven Gerrard’s side but there was no room for Alfredo Morelos in either XI.
The pair clashed over Walker’s inclusion of three Celtic players in his team of the year and they were also split over the selection of Hibernian’s Kevin Nisbet and Martin Boyle.
Boyd: My full team could have been Rangers
Boyd said: “There have not been many that have trained at the level Allan McGregor has. He is in the gym every morning and after every session. He’s 39 now and you don’t put in the performances and make big saves at crucial times if you don’t look after yourself. For me, he is the ultimate professional.
“James Tavernier and Borna Barisic complement each other so well. How many times have we seen one crossing to another? The majority of Rangers’ width comes from Tavernier and Barisic. To allow them to do that, it is crucial there are midfielders in there to fill in.
“It has helped Rangers that Connor Goldson is comfortable to start moves from the back and Filip Helander reminds me so much of David Weir in terms of his understanding of the game. Everybody says he lacks a bit of pace but I’ve not seen him being done a lot this season.
“My full team could have been Rangers! In midfield I’ve picked Joe Aribo, Steven Davis and Glen Kamara because the glaring thing for me this season is how the Rangers have been able to control games. Davis and Kamara have got that connection. Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield had a period of time in the team when they were excellent as well but these three have been the mainstay for the majority of Rangers’ season.
“There is no getting away from the fact Odsonne Edouard is the best striker in the league. I’d always have the top goal scorer in my team. What Alfredo Morelos does for Rangers is brilliant but if Edouard was in that team, Rangers would be beating teams 3-0 or 4-0 every week.
“Then there’s Ryan Kent who is phenomenal – he gets you off your seat. His numbers have increased season after season. Even if the team are not at the level we saw at the start of the campaign, he is still a threat. He is so comfortable with the ball – it is like has superglue in his boots!
“Kevin Nisbet was almost my central striker but I’ve gone with Martin Boyle. He has had periods this season when he’s had three or four really good games then one or two not as good, but he always comes back. With his pace, trickery, assists and goals, he has caused a lot of teams problems and he gives my team a good balance.”
Walker: Celtic awful, Rangers astonishing
Walker said: “At the age of 39, I’m amazed by Allan McGregor’s fitness, agility, and athleticism. I was a striker and knew how to put the ball in the back of the net but there is a bit of an intimidating factor about him. It’s his status, what he’s done in his career at Rangers and Scotland, and he’s doing it again at this stage – it has been a remarkable season for him.
“Rangers defensive product this season has been astonishing – they hardly lose a goal, never mind a game. With James Tavernier, how much of a product do you want from a right-back? I know in this new era of football there is a demand for full-backs to get themselves high up the pitch and almost be an attacking option. He and Borna Barisic have shown they can do that.
“You need leaders and Connor Goldson has been so consistent this season – he hasn’t missed a minute. While Rangers have been so successful this season, it has been an awful season for Celtic but I like Kristoffer Ajer. It has not been his best year but he is so comfortable on the ball and I rate him – it would be a big boost if he stays at Celtic but I fear he might go elsewhere.
“I like what Joe Aribo does, especially in tight areas with the ball. To get him for a development fee from Charlton is the type of business every club is looking at and I think he is worth a lot of money now. The amount of games Steven Davis has controlled for Rangers has been incredible. The other thing you have to admire is that he now has 126 caps for Northern Ireland. To be that committed to your national team and turn up time and time again as well as managing all your demands at club football – it is magnificent.
“Also in midfield, I have picked David Turnbull because he is someone who gets me on the edge of my seat. I think there is something special about him and Celtic have got a real player on their hands. He is becoming more and more important to the way Celtic play and to have a goal-scoring threat from midfield is vital. He is a mainstay and one that will want to develop his game with Celtic and a new manager.
“Ryan Kent can turn a game so quickly. He can be on the right-hand side, cut in, and crash a shot into the left corner and he can do the same from the other side. He can go either way and is so comfortable and can generate as much power with either foot. If you get him in the last third, something will happen, and that’s why he’s in the team.
“Celtic have had a rotten season but Odsonne Edouard is still the top goal scorer in Scotland. He has all the ability, great close control, can move his feet so quickly and happy to go right or left to get a shot away. I think he is one that will go onto have a terrific career.
“I like the way Kevin Nisbet has settled into this Hibs team. He can link the play, he is good with his back to goal, he finishes things off but can also sets things up – he is very much a team player. He’s managed to get himself involved in the international scene with Scotland too and has shown how effective he can be in this successful Hibs side.”
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