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The seventeenth annual Narey's Toepoker Team of the Year (part 1)



How long do I have to keep this going before I can call this an 'annual tradition'?

I'm mainly doing it because I've always done it and I'm worried the universe will implode and swallow itself whole if I stop. But I haven't yet reached the point when I can look back and laugh at the fact I included Daniel Majstorovic one year.

The previous sixteen vintages, for the record:

2007/08: Allan McGregor (Rangers), Alan Hutton (Rangers), Carlos Cuellar (Rangers), Lee Wilkie (Dundee United), Lee Naylor (Celtic), Barry Robson (Celtic), Stephen Hughes (Motherwell), Barry Ferguson (Rangers), Aiden McGeady (Celtic), Scott McDonald (Celtic), Steven Fletcher (Hibernian)

2008/09: Lukasz Zaluska (Dundee United), Andreas Hinkel (Celtic), Gary Caldwell (Celtic), Lee Wilkie (Dundee United), Sasa Papac (Rangers), Scott Brown (Celtic), Bruno Aguiar (Hearts), Pedro Mendes (Rangers), Andrew Driver (Hearts), Scott McDonald (Celtic), Kris Boyd (Rangers)

2009/10: John Ruddy (Motherwell), Steven Whittaker (Rangers), David Weir (Rangers), Andy Webster (Dundee United), Sasa Papac (Rangers), Steven Davis (Rangers), Morgaro Gomis (Dundee United), James McArthur (Hamilton), Anthony Stokes (Hibernian), Kris Boyd (Rangers), David Goodwillie (Dundee United)

2010/11: Marian Kello (Hearts), Steven Whittaker (Rangers), Daniel Majstorovic (Celtic), Michael Duberry (St. Johnstone), Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic), Steven Naismith (Rangers), Beram Kayal (Celtic), Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock), David Templeton (Hearts), Nikica Jelavic (Rangers), David Goodwillie (Dundee United)

2011/12: Cammy Bell (Kilmarnock), Adam Matthews (Celtic), Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Paul Dixon (Dundee United), James Forrest (Celtic), Victor Wanyama (Celtic), Ian Black (Hearts), Dean Shiels (Kilmarnock), Jon Daly (Dundee United), Gary Hooper (Celtic)

2012/13: Fraser Forster (Celtic), Mihael Kovacevic (Ross County), Gary Warren (Inverness CT), Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen), Stevie Hammell (Motherwell), Victor Wanyama (Celtic), Nicky Law (Motherwell), Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone), Leigh Griffiths (Hibernian), Michael Higdon (Motherwell), Billy Mckay (Inverness CT) 

2013/14: Jamie MacDonald (Hearts), Dave Mackay (St. Johnstone), Virgil Van Dijk (Celtic), Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen), Andrew Robertson (Dundee United), Scott Brown (Celtic), Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United), Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen), Kris Commons (Celtic), Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock), Stevie May (St. Johnstone)

2014/15: Craig Gordon (Celtic), Shay Logan (Aberdeen), Virgil Van Dijk (Celtic), Jason Denayer (Celtic), Graeme Shinnie (Inverness CT), Ryan Jack (Aberdeen), Greg Tansey (Inverness CT), Greg Stewart (Dundee), Stefan Johansen (Celtic), Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United/Celtic), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen)

2015/16: Jamie MacDonald (Kilmarnock), Callum Paterson (Hearts), Igor Rossi (Hearts), Andrew Davies (Ross County), Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen), Nir Bitton (Celtic), Jackson Irvine (Ross County), Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen), Kenny McLean (Aberdeen), Marvin Johnson (Motherwell), Leigh Griffiths (Celtic)

2016/17: Joe Lewis (Aberdeen), Callum Paterson (Hearts), Jozo Simunovic (Celtic), Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone), Kieran Tierney (Celtic), Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen), Stuart Armstrong (Celtic), Adam Barton (Partick Thistle), Scott Sinclair (Celtic), Moussa Dembele (Celtic), Liam Boyce (Ross County)

2017/18: Jon McLaughlin (Hearts), James Tavernier (Rangers), Scott McKenna (Aberdeen), Christophe Berra (Hearts), Kieran Tierney (Celtic), Scott Brown (Celtic), Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian), John McGinn (Hibernian), James Forrest (Celtic), Daniel Candeias (Rangers), Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock)

2018/19: Allan McGregor (Rangers), James Tavernier (Rangers), Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic), Craig Halkett (Livingston), Kieran Tierney (Celtic), Callum McGregor (Celtic), David Turnbull (Motherwell), James Forrest (Celtic), Ryan Christie (Celtic), Ryan Kent (Rangers), Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)

2019/20: Mark Gillespie (Motherwell), James Tavernier (Rangers), Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic), Jon Guthrie (Livingston), Borna Barisic (Rangers), James Forrest (Celtic), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Ali McCann (St. Johnstone), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen), Odsonne Edouard (Celtic), Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)

2020/21: Benjamin Siegrist (Dundee United), James Tavernier (Rangers), Conor Goldson (Rangers), Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone), Borna Barisic (Rangers), Steven Davis (Rangers), Ali McCann (St. Johnstone), Ryan Kent (Rangers), David Turnbull (Celtic), Martin Boyle (Hibernian), Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)

2021/22: Craig Gordon (Hearts), James Tavernier (Rangers), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Ryan Edwards (Dundee United), Stephen Kingsley (Hearts), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Joe Aribo (Rangers), Regan Charles-Cook (Ross County), Barrie McKay (Hearts), Jota (Celtic), Alfredo Morelos (Rangers)

2022/23: Trevor Carson (St. Mirren), James Tavernier (Rangers), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Connor Goldson (Rangers), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Reo Hatate (Celtic), Jota (Celtic), Malik Tillman (Rangers), Kyogo Furuhashi (Celtic), Kevin Van Veen (Motherwell)

And here's the goalkeeper and back four - it is always a back four, for some reason - for this campaign.


Honourable mentions: Jack Butland (Rangers), Joe Hart (Celtic)

See how extraordinarily crap St. Johnstone were this season? Well, imagine how bad it would have been had it not been for a superhuman Bulgarian between the sticks. It seemed apt that Mitov finished the season with a huge penalty save on the final day which helped the Perth Saints escape a relegation playoff. As for the others, Butland impressed sufficiently that he nearly got back in the England picture, while Hart still looked decent in his final days as a player on the rare occasions he was actually called upon.


Honourable mentions: Alistair Johnston (Celtic), Nicky Devlin (Aberdeen)

That's seven years in a row I've picked Tav, a record that will surely never be beaten (because surely I won't be doing this in seven years time). It was same old, same old; a little iffy defensively now and again but more than making up for it as a creator and scorer of goals. Given he turns 33 in November, surely he is past his peak now though. Johnston wasn't too flashy but rarely looked exposed, at least in domestic games. Devlin was pretty decent at right wing-back for Aberdeen.


Honourable mentions: Greg Taylor (Celtic), Alex Cochrane (Hearts)

This is a rare case of me putting a non-Old Firm player in for more than just the laughs. Beck made the PFA Scotland Team of the Year, and was so impressive in the first half of the season that Liverpool took him back in January and gave him a first-team appearance before deciding to return him to Tayside. It's safe to say that he will go on to shine at a much higher level than the Scottish Premiership. Taylor often seems to get a lot of stick but he has been very good for Celtic the last few years. I struggled to come up with a third left-back but I thought Cochrane was as good as anyone else (I note I wrote pretty much the same thing about him last season!).


Honourable mentions: John Souttar (Rangers), Lewis Mayo (Kilmarnock), Alex Gogic (St. Mirren), Joe Shaughnessy (Dundee)

Carter-Vickers strolls through Scottish football, frankly. I'm surprised he isn't bored and itching to test himself at a higher level yet. This is the third consecutive season I've named him. Kent's ball-playing was almost as important to Hearts as his solid defending. I listed Souttar as one of the worst signings of the previous season and fairly had to eat my words as he not only stayed fit but was consistently Rangers' best centre-back. Mayo had a breakout season for Kilmarnock. The years-long debate over whether Gogic is best in defence or midfield seems to have been ended at last by the Cypriot's dominant performances in a back three. His former St. Mirren teammate Shaughnessy was a major factor in Dundee making the top six.

I'll do the rest at some point next week. Maybe.

Lawrie Spence has whinged about Scottish football on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007. He has a life outside this blog. Honestly.

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