The Magnificent 7: our top Ladbrokes Prem players of the season
Celtic confirmed an incredible unbeaten Ladbrokes Premiership campaign with Sunday’s 2-0 defeat of Heart of Midlothian. And it’s fair to say they’ve had some of the division’s finest performers this term – especially in their fearsome frontline.
But we’ve also been greatly impressed by players elsewhere in the division, from Aberdeen’s assist king to Ross County’s derby-loving hitman, and many more besides.
Here are the seven stars the Ladbrokes News team want to doff our proverbial caps to.
Scott Sinclair (Celtic)
A true entertainer who has lit up Parkhead this term, the £3.5m fee needed to secure his services from Aston Villa last summer already looks like a bargain. Fleet-footed, clinical and a consistent provider of chances, he’s helped turn a top-rate Celtic side into an unstoppable attacking machine.
Scoring in eight of his first nine games, the Bath-born ace helped the Bhoys enjoy the ideal start to the campaign – and continued to impress beyond that early burst of brilliance, contributing directly to 31 goals during the league season. Not too shabby!
Scott Brown (Celtic)
While it’s the glory-getting, high-scoring players who tend to receive the accolades, Brown’s understated brilliance has been rightly noticed during 2016-17, with the Hoops legend winning the Ladbrokes Premiership Player of the Season award.
While it hasn’t been a goal-filled campaign for the experienced midfielder, his composed displays and organisation of the Hoops midfield have been immaculate. Oh, and the contributions he has made to goals have been vital. Look no further than his winner in the nervy 1-0 victory at Dundee back in October.
Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen)
The Dons frontline owed a great deal to Hayes during the recent campaign, with the Irishman topping up a league-high 12 assists in the Premiership – as well as scoring nine goals of his own, including a pair of absolute screamers against Motherwell and Celtic respectively.
This has been his best season yet in an Aberdeen shirt – and that’s no mean feat.
Zander Clark (St Johnstone)
After three loan spells which saw him gain experience with Elgin City and Queen of the South, the 24-year-old keeper has returned to St Johnstone a confident and assured performer this term, taking over the mantle from Allan Mannus with a string of superb displays.
The towering stopper recorded nine clean sheets in 26 Prem outings, including shut-outs against the likes of Aberdeen and Hearts. An increasingly commanding presence in collecting crosses, the signs are that he’s close to being the real deal.
Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian)
While Ian Cathro’s men have struggled to build on 2015-16’s third-placed finish, Walker has been one of the bright sparks at Tynecastle this term, with the versatile winger netting 12 times this season.
Add to that the fact he’s a talented dribbler of the ball, relentlessly energetic and dominated the club’s heaviest defeat of Rangers (4-1) since 1996, with two clinical finishes. And at the age of 23, chances are he’ll only continue to improve.
Liam Boyce (Ross County)
It’s fair to say Inverness Caledonian Thistle fans won’t miss the sight of the Belfast-born hitman next term. He netted nine times against County’s Highland rivals in 2016-17, including all four goals in April’s 4-0 drubbing of the Caley Jags.
But he didn’t let the division’s other defences off lightly, either. The 25-year-old was the Prem’s top scorer last term, netting a cool 23 times during the campaign (47% of their total goals), as well as notching up five assists. Who knows where they would have finished the season without him…
Louis Moult (Motherwell)
With the Well eventually finishing the campaign four points ahead of bottom club Inverness, it’s hard to overstate the importance of Moult’s 15-goal haul in the context of the Steelmen’s survival.
A player who crucially came alive against his side’s relegation rivals, he netted six times in three games against Hamilton Academical, as well as strikes in narrow victories over the likes of Inverness and Ross County. No wonder he’s the toast of Fir Park.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing