Scottish Premiership 2018/19 Team of the Season
After 38 games in the Scottish Premiership the season has come to an end, with Celtic retaining their eighth title in a row, Rangers reaching second and Kilmarnock finishing third in a record-breaking season, before manager Steve Clarke departed for the Scotland job.
Lower in the table, Dundee were relegated after a miserable season, whilst St Mirren fought to finish narrowly in the play-off spot.
Adam Mackintosh picks out his standout players throughout the 2018/19 season.
Allan McGregor – Rangers – Questions were asked when the veteran goalkeeper signed for Rangers again, six years after leaving for Beşiktaş. They already had an established number one in Wes Foderingham but very quickly it became clear why McGregor was signed. His crucial saves helped his side negotiate eight European qualifying games, conceding just twice, one of only four teams who started in the first qualifying round and made the group stage. His domestic performances have also been highly impressive keeping 14 league clean sheets, helping Rangers to second place.
James Tavernier – Rangers – The full back scored 14 goals and assists in the league this season as Rangers finished runners-up. Tavernier’s defensive capabilities had been questioned in the past but this season, he has been part of a team that has kept 17 clean sheets and his defensive performances have been impressive. West Brom had tried to sign the defender last summer and if reports are to be believed, they will make another bid for him this summer, but Rangers should do all they can to keep the 27-year-old.
Craig Halkett – Livingston – The Livingston captain had been part of a side that won two consecutive promotions to the Premiership and his excellent form continued into the top flight. This form has led to a pre-contract signing with Hearts. Usually lining up in a three-man defence with Declan Gallagher and Alan Lithgow, Halkett was part of a Livi team that has kept 14 clean sheets this season which included home wins against Rangers and Hearts and two draws against champions Celtic.
Kristoffer Ajer – Celtic – The Norwegian International has been a reliable performer in an ever-changing Celtic defence as they won their eighth consecutive league title. Ajer has been an almost ever-present since the winter break as Celtic kept 13 clean sheets in 18 league games. With Dedryck Boyata joining Hertha Berlin in summer and Filip Benkovic possibly returning to Leicester, Ajer will be a vital player as Celtic look to win their ninth title in a row.
Greg Taylor – Kilmarnock – The 21-year-old has been a consistent performer for Kilmarnock as they broke their record points tally for the second season running and finished third for the first time since 1966. Taylor has played all but one game this season at left-back in a defence that has kept 15 clean sheets his season. The defender scored his first professional goal for Kilmarnock in their 5-0 win against Hamilton in March. His performances led to being named Kilmarnock’s young player of the year.
Alan Power – Kilmarnock – Another vital part of the Killie side that qualified for Europe for the first time since 2001. He has built up a formidable partnership with his fellow countrymen Gary Dicker in the centre of midfield. His work rate and tenacity is vital to that Kilmarnock midfield which has been so important to their success. His only goal of the campaign was a vital one, the equaliser at St Mirren in a match that Killie went onto win.
David Turnbull – Motherwell – The young midfielder has been a revelation in his first season in Motherwell’s first team scoring 15 goals from midfield despite only making his first start of the season in October. In his second and third starts against relegation rivals St Mirren and Dundee, Turnbull scored vital goals in both games. Of the 15 games that his side have won in the league this season, the 19-year-old has scored in 10 of them. In addition to his goals, his all-round play has impressed and led to calls for a Scotland call-up and comparisons with former Motherwell youth product James McFadden. Turnbull signed a new contract to the summer of 2021, but that won’t be likely to deter a number of teams who have been linked with the player.
Callum McGregor – Celtic – The midfielder has been vital to Celtic’s eighth league title in a row. When Scott Brown was injured in September, it was McGregor who filled that gap at the base of Celtic’s midfield and when he returned, Brown had to settle to a place on the bench due to McGregor’s fine form. This showed a different facet to McGregor’s game, one that has made him one of the first names on the team sheet for both club and country. McGregor has made 66 appearances for club and country this season.
James Forrest – Celtic – The PFA Scotland Player of the Year had another impressive season as his goals and assists have helped Celtic to another league title. He registered 11 goals and 9 assists in the league which include a winner over Rangers and a four goals in win over St Johnstone. He has also scored important goals in cup semi-finals against Hearts and Aberdeen and for Scotland against Albania and Israel.
Alfredo Morelos – Rangers – The league’s top scorer has been outstanding for Rangers as they finished runners-up behind Celtic. The Colombian international scored 18 goals in the league and 30 in all competitions. Morelos plays close to the edge, his 18 yellows and 5 reds are evidence of that, but without this, he would be diminished force. His physically is central to his game. His goal in a 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock was the perfect encapsulation of his style. He received the ball just outside the box, turned the defender and produced a fine finish past the goalkeeper. His form has led to speculation about a move away from the club and his disciplinary record may force Rangers to sell.
Daryl Horgan – Hibernian – The Irish winger has been a standout player in an up-and-down season for Hibs. His pace and energy were a rare bright spot as Hibs struggled in the first half of the season. Since Paul Heckingbottom was appointed, Horgan has been a key part of the revival had Hibs underwent to see them finish in the top six. The Irish international’s best performance of the season was undoubtedly at the home of city rivals, Hearts. Horgan scored both goals as Hibs came from behind to win 2-1 and record a victory at Tynecastle for the first team since 2013.