'Well Done?

With Celtic enjoying a clean sweep of the Clydesdale Bank awards a little more fuel has been added to the fire of those suggesting that the achievements of Stuart McCall and his Motherwell side have been harshly overlooked in the variety of end of season awards.

It was remarkable for example in the SPFA SPL Team of the Year for example that whilst fourth placed Dundee Utd had no fewer than five representatives in the eleven, third placed 'Well had just a single player included, that being Irish shot-stopper Darren Randolph.

In the PFA Manager of the Year awards McCall was at least amongst the trio nominated but missed out to former Motherwell striker Derek Adams who lead Ross County to the First Division title.

And now in the Clydesdale Bank awards, which saw Neil Lennon named as SPL Manager of the Year, Charlie Mulgrew crowned Player of the Year and his Scotland team-mate James Forrest Young Player of the Year claret and amber representation was again conspicious by its absence.

Ex-Bradford City boss McCall could be justified in feeling aggrieved at failing to get the nod.

The Champions League place secured following Rangers well documented troubles was without doubt the icing on the cake, but even without that bonus to lead his side to a third place finish was a fine achievement in its own right.  With a budget reckoned to come in around 8th in the SPL McCall has used the resources at his disposal to maximum effect developing a Motherwell side he had already lead to the Scottish Cup Final in May 2011.

McCall's primary concern after that Hampden date was to replace the firepower of the departing John Sutton and he did so in quick fashion by snapping up St Mirren striker Michael Higdon, who with a game of the campaign remaining, could yet still equal or better Sutton's tally of seventeen in 2010'11.

Whilst Higdon took a little time to win over a section of the Motherwell support, McCall's other summer signing Nicky Law was an instant hit and proved to be an equally successful addition.  Adding much needed goals from the middle of the park allied to bags of creativity the former Rotherham has proved many of the critics who questioned his move to Scotland completely wrong.

McCall then added wisely to the group who had started the season so well snapping up Kilmarnock defender Tim Clancy and Jamaican internationalist  Omar Daley, both providing excellent value for money due to their versatility.  Clancy in particular has surpassed all expectations given his lowly billing from those of a KIlmarnock persusasion, so much so in fact that club captain Stephen Craigan was forced to look the season reach its climax from the Fir Park dugout.

Lighting up the second half season at a time when the Motherwell attack needed some inspiration was Estonian Henrik Ojamaa. The stocky forward arrived at the club on trial and impressed sufficiently to be rewarded with a deal to the end of the season. Such was his impact that within weeks that deal was extended by a further two and a half years and he had the Young Player of the Month award for January nestling snuggly on his mantlepiece.

Despite those additions to the squad at key times throughout the campaign the Motherwell manager ran with a pool of players that was one of the smallest in the top flight. The continuity that brought certainly worked in Motherwell's favour however with a tight-knit squad gelling on and off the park. Rarely in recent times has a Motherwell side shown such consistency of performance across a full season.  Despite the Old Firm continuing to be something of an achilles heel for the Fir Parkers to have lost only 4 games to sides outwith the Glasgow giants is a remarkable statistic. Similarly with only two losses from a possible 18 encounters against bottom six opponents, the ability to rise above ones peers was one of the platforms upon which Motherwell's memorable season was built.

There will always be debate as to whether an Old Firm manager  winning trophies is a more deserving case for an individual award than the gaffer of a provincial club who may not have a trophy to show for their efforts.  Those deciding the destination of the Clydesdale Bank awards have clearly decided, for this season at least, that the former trumps the latter.  McCall, many will feel, deserves better than that.