With another season over in Scotland, It’s time for a First Touch annual tradition – The Full Scottish end-of-season awards 2023, presented by Brian P. Dunleavy
The Best Of Scottish Football 2023
Manager Of The Year
Ange Postecoglou, Celtic
Actually a few worthy candidates here (Barry Robson’s rescue job at Aberdeen comes to mind), but the Aussie gets the nod, given that he has the Hoops in line for a domestic treble.
Reports suggest the Parkhead board are already lining up potential successors, with the second-year bench boss a leading candidate for the same post at Tottenham.
For what it’s worth, Postecoglou told The Herald, “You’re not invested in this football club like I am, my players are, the supporters are. For me, I woke up this morning thinking about one thing, the same thing I have been thinking about for the last seven days; really wanting to make sure we play well in this cup final and make it a truly special season.”
Player Of The Year
Callum McGregor, Celtic
McGregor’s teammate Kyogo claimed most of the media accolades, due to his goal-scoring prowess, but for us the Hoops skipper remains Scotland’s best. A constant in the starting XI for club and country, he is the engine that makes Ange-ball go. And, he represents Celtic well off the pitch as well.
Young Player Of The Year
Luís Henriques de Barros Lopes (aka “Duk”), Aberdeen
Again, lots of candidates here, but 18 goals in 40 appears across all competitions merits attention for the 22-year-old Cape Verde internationalist.
Comeback Player of the Year
Kevin van Veen, Motherwell
The Dutchman bounced around the lower leagues in his homeland and England before landing at Motherwell last term. This season, he found his scoring touch, hitting the back of the net 28 times in 43 appearances across all competitions.
The Steelmen hope to keep him, but his play has earned van Veen interest from top-flight teams in his homeland. Not a bad way to close out a career for a 32-year-old journeyman.
Story of the Year
In most places, a domestic treble would be big news, but in Scotland… Well, Celtic have significantly more resources than other clubs and, at least in recent years, they can boast about how well they have been managed (both football- and business-wise) compared with their closest competitors, Rangers.
So, for us, St. Mirren gets the nod here, for good and bad reasons. First, the good: a top six finish for a club with limited resources, and news that the bulk of Stephen Robinson’s side will return for 2023-24.
And then the bad: upheaval in the boardroom. A small club cannot afford such strife. How the latter plays out will likely determine whether they can repeat their 2022-23 performance next season.