As another season comes to a close in Scottish Premiership, it's looking likely that current champions, Celtic, are going to retain their title and do four-in-a-row.
With Ronny Deila's first season just about under his belt, the new gaffer has chopped and changed his side over what has been a long and eventful season which has seen the Norwegian win his first piece of silverware.
Currently, the votes are being cast to find out who should be the Celtic Player of the Year for the 2014-15 season. There are many candidates, probably more than any season in the current era at the Parkhead club. From the back to the attack the team seems to be flooded with contenders.
Starting in goal, Craig Gordon, is one of the more favourable winners of the prestigious award. The stopper returned to action after a two year absence from the game. Gordon has definitely turned many doubters and has put in more than amicable performances domestically and in Europe. Brought in as a temporary replacement to Fraser Forster, Gordon has cemented his starting spot and has won the hearts of most Celtic fans. The Bhoys probably owe their extended Europa League campaign to Gordon, who produced world class saves throughout the competition.
Staying with the defence of Celtic, Virgil van Dijk is a major contender for player of the year. The Dutchman continues to impress in his second season at the club. The ex-Groningen man oozes class and strolls through most matches. The centre-back got his first Dutch call-up this season, after a long wait, but is yet to feature in a match. Virgil continues to use his physical presence to match the Scottish 'athlete' and chips in with some goals too. Van Dijk was unfortuante not to receive the POTY acolade last year, however he had to contend with Kris Commons' 30+ goals a season from midfield.
Next up is his centre-back partner, Jason Denayer. The 19-year-old Belgian has been a breath of fresh air in the Scottish Premiership. Denayer is on-loan from Manchester City and hadn't played a first-team game of football in his life before joining. Denayer's ability has been surprising and shows that a player of his age can easily play first-team football. Denayer has similar attributes to van Dijk yet some say that he may be better than his older partner. However, Denayer and van Dijk have been the perfect match at this point in their careers, with the younger of the two looking for guidance - yet van Dijk can exhibit leadership skills on his protege. Denayer's impressive performances has caught they eye of the Belgian national team, as he has appeared in a qualification match against Israel. It is unknown whether he will receive the Young Player of the Year award.
Moving into midfield, the Celtic captain, Scott Brown is a contender. Since returning from injury early on in the season, 'Broony' has maintained his captaincy into the new Deila era and has been a mainstay at defensive midfield. Forming an unlikely partnership with Nir Bitton, Brown has continued to express his hardworking attitude which the fans definitely appreciate. This season, Brown got his ultimate honour, by becoming the Scotland national team captain. Although he is a controversial figure in the Premiership, the Tartan Army rally round their new leader in search of Euro 2016 qualification. Brown's club side look a different side without their leader, which shows just how influential he is on the pitch.
Brown's partner in crime Nir Bitton is another surprise candidate for player of the year. Nir was a Neil Lennon signing last year from Ashdod in his native country. The Israeli was never a cemented starter for the old manager and it looked like the same was to happen with the new man in charge. However, with his Celtic future looking bleak, an infamous heart-to-heart chat with Deila had seen a resurgeance in the defensive midfielder's tenure at the club. Bitton showed why he is arguably the most composed man in Scotland, spraying passes about with ease, no matter the pressure on him. Bitton isn't an aggresive player and rarely goes to ground whilst tackling, exhibiting excellent standing tackling skills. Nir is also an internationalist with his country, playing in his familiar central midfield spot.
The last midfielder up for serious contention is another big favourite for the award, Stefan Johansen. The Norwegian playmaker arrived last January under Neil Lennon from Deila's championship winning Stromsgodset. The new manager and familiar face continued their great working relationship with each other and it's paid dividends for Celtic as Johansen is turning out to be a top player. Johansen originally was partnered with Brown in defensive midfield where he seemed wasted, yet a tactical move to the attacking midfield position has seen Johansen reap the awards contributing to double figures in both goals and assists. It will be a tough job for Deila to keep his countryman at Celtic longer than his contract, but if he decides to go to pastures new, the club will be quids-in.
Up front Leigh Griffiths is in definite contention for the player of the year award. The ex-Hibernian stiker has arguably worked the hardest out of the entire squad to get a place in Deila's squad, into the one striker space available. Griffiths was visibally frustrated early on in the season. However with much determination, Griffiths is more frequent in the team these days. He is like a duracell bunny that never seems to stop, which definitely adds to Deila's 'pressure and tempo' philosophy that he is trying to implement at Celtic. The Scotsman is usually deadly with his left peg in front of goal, yet is still to appear for the national team in recent squads which lacks clinical finishers. Griffiths would need to repeat his hard work at Celtic to get into Gordon Strachan's selection.