Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Adams is pick of the bosses

Derek Adams has performed miracles with Ross County
Derek Adams has performed miracles with Ross County

Picking a Manager of the Year this season has been very difficult as so many have had outstanding campaigns.

Ex-Rangers player Alan Johnston, who is in charge of Queen of the South, was selected by his fellow managers to receive the PFA award, after winning the second division title so impressively (they were the first team in the UK to win their Championship).

Without taking anything away from Alan and his achievement I feel there are more worthy candidates in the SPL who can feel a little aggrieved they haven't been rewarded for their exploits.

At a time when finances are tight and playing budgets for players are shrinking the entertainment on show in the top flight has been as good as it's been for a few years.

Neil Lennon has won the league title for Celtic and is on for a possible double; however the fact that Celtic have so far dropped 35 points this season in a league without Rangers shows their domestic form has been indifferent.

This season will always be remembered from a Celtic perspective for beating Barcelona at Parkhead and winning in Moscow against Spartak but I'm not sure those two victories alone constitute enough to win the top award. Agreed, those particular performances put Celtic back on the map in European terms but too often their squad rotation has affected their SPL results.

As Inverness sit on the verge of qualifying for Europe for the first time in their relatively short history (formed in 1994) manager Terry Butcher has galvanised many people's early season favourites for relegation.

He brought a lot of untried and untested players to the Highlands and as the season has evolved his side have got better and better.

Northern Ireland's Billy McKay has been the pick of the bunch with 27 goals and Butcher's eye for a player within a rigid wage structure, coupled with attacking football, has given Inverness a season to remember.

After finishing the best of the rest last season (third place), many thought Motherwell, under Stuart McCall, would struggle to replicate that this season.

They've proved their doubters wrong and currently sit in second place and six points clear of Inverness with two games to go.

I feel they have been the most attractive team to watch, especially going forward and have the newly crowned PFA player of the year among their ranks in Michael Higdon.

Stuart has really blossomed as manager of Motherwell since he came to the club in 2010 and I feel he hasn't had the recognition his efforts have merited. I don't think anyone could have argued if he'd been awarded the Manager of the Year because the freedom and flair Motherwell play with has been a joy to witness.

My personal choice for Manager of the Year though would go to Ross County's Derek Adams.

Many talk about Celtic and their lack of resources compared to others in the Champions League but Ross County have faced a similar scenario on a weekly basis in the SPL and have been fantastic.

Dingwall, where they are based, has a population of just over 5,000.

Derek's budget is the lowest in the league and in this their debut season in the top flight to be in with a shout of European football with two games to go is testament to everyone at the club. A lot of other chairmen will be looking on enviously at their success on a limited budget and expecting more value for money.

So as the season draws to a close the aforementioned clubs will be wondering if they can hold on to their managers, who have certainly boosted their reputations.

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