Aye, it's that time again. Fourteen years we've been doing this, and frankly I'm worried the universe will end if I shirk my duties.
No surprise that there's a lot of representation from the blue cheek of the Glasgow arse this year.
For posterity, here's the previous thirteen editions:
So here's the goalkeeper and defence for 2020/21...
GOALKEEPER: BENJAMIN SIEGRIST (DUNDEE UNITED)
Honourable mentions: Allan McGregor (Rangers), Zander Clark (St. Johnstone)
At least until he broke his wrist a few weeks back, no keeper in the Premiership had made more saves than Siegrist, which tells you that he has had a cracking season and also that Dundee United's backline has not. If United sell him this summer, they could get a very decent fee for the Swiss keeper.
McGregor is now 39 but shows no signs of slowing down and will play on at Ibrox for at least another year; he remains the best Scottish keeper around. Clark came to prominence with his big performances in the cup for St. Johnstone but had a perfectly solid season even before that.
RIGHT-BACK: JAMES TAVERNIER (RANGERS)
Honourable mentions: Marcus Fraser (St. Mirren), Shaun Rooney (St. Johnstone)
Tavernier becomes the second player after Kris Boyd to make my Team Of The Year four times, and the first to do so in four straight seasons. Remarkably at the time of writing he is still Rangers' top scorer in all competitions with eighteen goals, but he has also rarely been pulled up for his defensive play this season and frankly would be a worthy winner of Player Of The Year.
I've previously decried Fraser as not being athletic enough to be a right-back at this level but he proved me completely wrong this season with the best campaign of his career as Jim Goodwin got the best out of him in Paisley. Rooney had a rocky start after making the step up from Inverness but has been electric since the turn of the year; he has all the physical tools and his football IQ gets better and better with every game.
LEFT-BACK: BORNA BARISIC (RANGERS)
Honourable mentions: Josh Doig (Hibernian), Julien Serrano (Livingston)
Barisic has been terrific for two years now; that left foot is like a wand. It would be no surprise if Rangers have to fight off suitors offering big money for the Croat this summer.
Otherwise the left-back position was not one of strength in the Premiership this season. Doig is clearly the next man up after winning the Young Player Of The Year award and is still only 19 so his potential is really exciting. After that you can take your pick, but I always enjoyed what I saw of the Spaniard Serrano who has done well after making the loan switch - and culture change! - from Monaco to Livingston.
CENTRE-BACKS: CONOR GOLDSON (RANGERS), JASON KERR (ST. JOHNSTONE)
Honourable mentions: Filip Helander (Rangers), Paul Hanlon (Hibernian), Conor McCarthy (St. Mirren), Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic)
Did Goldson put a foot wrong all year? Not only was he almost impregnable defensively but his passing out from the back is terrific too. Crazily, he has played more than 160 games for Rangers in three seasons...even though one of those was shortened due to Covid. Kerr has been right at the top of his game this season and at 24 the time has surely come for the centre-back to move to a bigger club.
I could have easily justified putting Helander in if I had wanted to, Rangers have never lost a league game in which he has played. Hanlon is playing as well as at any other point in his career and was rewarded with his first Scotland cap in October. McCarthy had a really good year for the Buddies and is still young enough that he could go really far. Ajer in contrast had a down season but that doesn't mean he doesn't still stroll through most of this matches, and it's not his fault he's spent much of the year trying to cover for Shane Duffy and Stephen Welsh...
The rest of the team will be up later in the week...
Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly.