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Spiers on Sport: my Scottish team of the year

Ahead of the game as usual, I've selected my Scottish Team of the Season for 2013-14, even though there are officially still five weeks to go.

Tommy Wright celebrates the semi-final victory
Tommy Wright celebrates the semi-final victory

Pick your own team of the year: try our game here

The 11 players I've chosen won their places after hours of agonising on my part, not least through having to decide who to leave out.

In my team there is no place for players like Nadir Ciftci, Stefan Johansen, Keith Lasley, Willo Flood or Leigh Griffiths, all of whom have enhanced their club's season.

In the case of Johansen and Griffiths, they arrived during the January window and hence missed five months of the campaign.

My manager of the year - another agonising dilemma - is Tommy Wright. The St Johnstone boss gets the gig ahead of Derek McInnes of Aberdeen, principally due to him bouncing the Dons out of a Scottish Cup final place at Ibrox last Sunday.

Wright has taken St Johnstone to their first-ever Scottish Cup final, steered his club to a very comfortable top-six place, contested a League Cup semi-final, and also seen off Rosenborg in Europe.

All this, plus he had the handicap of a dodgy gall-bladder. Put simply, Wright has had a magnificent campaign, and there might be further glory to come.

One note of caution: I've set my team up 4-4-2, though I'm not convinced the gelling process with the players I've selected is easy. Who cares…that's Tommy Wright's problem.

My team of the year:

Fraser Forster (Celtic): The giant goalkeeper has remained the best playing in Scotland. Perhaps has not shone as well as last season, especially on that memorable night against Barcelona, but Forster has a presence and a sheer wingspan that actually intimidates strikers.

Dave Mackay (St Johnstone): Mackay is an unsung hero of the game in Scotland who has once again been a mainstay for St Johnstone. "Few managers would not want Dave Mackay in their team," said Derek McInnes earlier this season. The defender consistently shows grit and resolve.

Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen): One of a number of Aberdeen players bequeathed to Derek McInnes by Craig Brown, who has helped cement a very fine Dons season. Any central defender with pace immediately catches the eye, and Reynolds falls into that category. Has improved greatly in 2013-14.

Virgil van Dijk (Celtic): Is anyone anywhere daring not to select this gifted young Dutchman in their team of the year? What a find and a signing by Celtic. Van Dijk, at this rate of progress, may not be long for Scottish football, with suitors queueing up to get him. A player in a long line of 'footballing' Dutch defenders.

Andy Robertson (Dundee United): The rise of this 20-year-old has been thoroughly startling - and credit to Dundee United for getting him and believing in the former Queen's Park defender. Has been immense under Jackie McNamara and, out of nowhere, has already been capped by Scotland. A terrific full-back.

Kris Commons (Celtic): The 30 year old has had a magnificent season, with goals pouring out of him. Commons can be played in a number of forward positions, but wherever he has performed for Celtic, he has wreaked havoc. On his day the most dangerous player in Scotland.

Scott Brown (Celtic): A mainstay of Celtic's season so far, with 50 matches already clocked up. Brown still has issues of temperament to deal with, as was painfully obvious during Celtic's ill-fated Champions League campaign, but he brings skill and enforcement. Still one of Scotland's best midfielders.

John Rankin (Dundee United): Personally, I cannot get enough of this busy, intelligent, tidy midfielder. From his days at Caley Thistle, Rankin was eye-catching with his astute reading of the game. Little wonder, with this little schemer in their midst, Dundee United have blossomed.

Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United): Of all the fine young crop at Tannadice, Armstrong has still excited me the most this season. The guy has skill, he eludes people, he stands up to opponents and gives his team real menace. Invariably, when Armstrong chooses to 'drift inside', as witnessed at Ibrox last weekend, something happens. A real prospect.

Stevie May (St Johnstone): May is an unarguable selection for any Scottish team of the season - any striker who can score 25-plus goals for St Johnstone must be doing terrifically well. Like Ally McCoist in his prime, at times May doesn't 'look the part' but his goals, like McCoist's, say everything. An exciting young striker.

Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock): Boyd's game has come on leaps and bounds since his rehabilitation at Rugby Park, and it has been good to see. His link play is far better, but bashing in goals remains his indulgence. Principally because of him, Kilmarnock will probably stay up.

Manager: Tommy Wright (St Johnstone) I've given Wright the nod over Aberdeen's Derek McInnes, in the main due to context. He has given St Johnstone their finest season in living memory, all within the context of an incredibly tight budget. In a striker like May, Wright has also improved players, and shown that he makes them respond to him.

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