A certain news network here in the U.S. claims to be “fair and balanced”—and fails. We make no such promises. With the Premiership title race done and dusted, after Celtic’s comprehensive 5-0 victory over Rangers at Celtic Park on Sunday, it’s time to announce the Full Scottish Team of the Season for 2017-18, and it will be loaded with players from one side of the Glasgow divide—such was the Hoops’ dominance this season. Of note, we’ll be going with a rather unorthodox 3-5-2, with a wrinkle, no less.
Without further ado…
The Full Scottish Team Of The Season 2018
By Brian P. Dunleavy
Jon McLaughlin, Hearts:
The Jam Tarts were the Prem’s second stingiest team after Celtic, and McLaughlin’s steady and sturdy gloves were key to that. His 14 clean sheets in 2017-18 have been enough to earn him a move down to England at the end of the season.
Kieran Tierney, Celtic:
The PFA’s Young Player of the Year for a record third consecutive season, the dye-in-the-wool Celt continues to earn plaudits for his maturity and consistency. Rumors of a big move to one of England’s “Big Four” abound, but the former Celtic Park ball Bhoy has promised his future to the club he loves—and what’s not to like about that?
Christophe Berra, Hearts:
We’ll head back to Edinburgh for the, uh, Heart of the back line, if only because Celtic never really had a pairing in front of goal that produced consistent results.
Graeme Shinnie, Aberdeen:
We know. Shinnie plays on the left. But, at this rate, he’ll never supplant Tierney, and his play warrants at least some recognition. He’ll make our squad here, which if nothing else makes us seem like Gordon Strachan.
Scott Brown, Celtic:
The Hoops captain said it best: “They told me I was finished. I’m still bossing games.” After looking a shell of his former self two seasons ago, Brown has made 60 appearances for Celtic this term—and has been the backbone of the best team in Scotland.
Callum McGregor, Celtic:
Arguably the Most Improved Bhoy this season, McGregor has made more than 30 appearances for Celtic and scored 10 goals across all competitions, many of them in big games (Rangers, Bayern Munich). Finally, he’s becoming a regular in the Scotland national team, too.
John McGinn, Hibernian:
McGinn is everyone’s favorite midfielder east of Parkhead. Valued at £5 million by manager Neil Lennon, it may take even more than that to pry him from what has been the best midfield group in Scotland not wearing green and white Hoops.
Scott Sinclair, Celtic:
Right. We know. Sinclair hasn’t been up to the high standards he set for himself in 2016-17, when he was Scotland’s Player of the Year. But he still has scored 17 goals in all competitions for Celtic—and who in Scotland would you rather have playing out on the left?
James Forrest, Celtic:
Full disclosure: “Wee Jamesy” got our vote for Celtic’s Player of the Year. He’s always had the talent. This year, he’s added fitness and consistency. Oh, and 16 goals across all comps is, as the Scots might say, “naw bad” either.
Kris Boyd, Kilmarnock:
We have to acknowledge the feel-good story that is Killie somewhere in this team… Boyd has led all with 18 goals in the Prem this season. And as a former ’Ger, he helps us with that whole “balance” thing.
Moussa Dembele, Celtic:
Yes, the Frenchman has appeared to coast in some matches this season, and his goal yield thus far (15 in 2017-18 compared to 32 last season) says a lot. But, what striker currently plying his trade in Scotland would you rather have leading the line? When fit and focused, Dembele simply can’t be marked. He’ll be following the money this summer, for sure, but he leaves with our best wishes.