At this stage of the year, I generally sit down to select my team from the first half of the Premiership season.
Of late, the side has been dominated by Celtic players augmented by the Dons’ star performers, but there is a very different look to my XI this time round.
It says everything about the champions’ struggles that not a single one of Neil Lennon’s men has made the cut.
Instead, I had to turn my attention across Glasgow and it became clear pretty quickly that Rangers’ excellent start to the campaign was going to dramatically shape my thinking.
The Ibrox team’s clean sheet record made it blindingly obvious that players from Ibrox would have to make up much of my defence.
Jon McLaughlin has had a number of appearances, but ALLAN McGREGOR has been their main man, and he is my goalkeeper, with honourable mentions going to Joe Lewis, St Mirren stopper Jak Alnwick and the Dundee United number one, Benjamin Siegrist.
JAMES TAVERNIER is already odds-on to be the Premiership player of the year, and his fellow full-back BORNA BARISIC is also having an outstanding campaign. CONNOR GOLDSON looks much improved this year, and he also deserves his place.
The one man who breaks the Rangers stranglehold is ANDY CONSIDINE. The Dons’ top performer is having another consistent season, capped by his long overdue international recognition. He simply had to be in my side.
ROSS McCRORIE has proved to be an excellent signing for Aberdeen, and while he has excelled in various positions, I’m putting him at the heart of my midfield.
There were a number of options for his partner, but I have gone for Hibernian’s JOE NEWELL who has shone for Jack Ross’ side, and would bring good balance alongside Ross.
Wide right, I have gone for DANNY McNAMARA. He caught my eye at the start of the season, has put in a series of outstanding performances for St Johnstone, and would comfortably slip into a role slightly further up the pitch.
Rangers have been strong in midfield this season, but SCOTT ARFIELD has been the pick of the bunch, and would offer a goal threat from midfield.
To complete my trio, I am playing LEWIS FERGUSON in the middle, a position he has successfully fulfilled many times. Lewis has had another excellent campaign, one that might have been even better but for the SFA and a ridiculous sending-off, and he continues to develop into an outstanding talent.
The most difficult choice I had to make was who to put in as my striker. Of the usual suspects, none has shown the kind of form their managers would expect, so the likes of Cosgrove, Edouard and Morelos were all quickly ruled out. The one forward who has performed is KEVIN NISBET.
He has coped comfortably with the step up to the Premiership, has had a decent goal return, and if he can maintain that level, has to be an outsider to make Scotland’s Euro 2020 squad for next summer.
The manager of the season so far is STEVEN GERRARD, but he still hasn’t won anything since having been appointed, and the next few months are going to be massive for him and his Ibrox future.
If he leads his team to the title and stops 10 In A Row, he will be a Rangers legend – if he doesn’t, he may well be out of a job.
Delighted to see the back of 2020
As we step tentatively into 2021, I reckon all of us will be delighted to leave behind what was one of the most remarkable years we have experienced.
On a personal level, there were highlights as I celebrated a significant birthday and became a grandad for the first time, and early in lockdown I decided there was no point in stressing out, I would just try to make the best of things.
I certainly hadn’t anticipated spending 20 successive Saturday afternoons talking on the radio without a ball being kicked and it was with some relief that I welcomed back the game we all love.
We’ve no way of knowing what shape Scottish football will be in as we slowly emerge from the effects of the pandemic – the only guarantee is that it will be as controversial and unpredictable as ever.
Happy New Year folks!