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Well, to be honest, taking Rangers out of the usual equation here has been easy this season as they currently sit 9 points behind 2nd placed Aberdeen. It has been another tumultuous season for the Gers though, and things will get better for them hopefully.
Celtic have romped away to another title, but their resources and support outnumber that of the rest in what has been in recent years, a league with no competitive element to it at all. So, with the big boys taken out, who deserves to be called ‘team of the year’ in Scotland this season?
Aberdeen are a good place to start. Having had to play Celtic 3 times this season, they still sit on 64 points from 32 games which is a record that would have them at the top of most leagues around Europe. Likewise, St Johnstone, who are forever written off as making up the numbers in Scotland, sit on 49 points from 32 games in 4th place which is not a bad record either.
Will Hearts feel that a 5th place is good enough at present? One would doubt that and this leaves us with Glasgow’s third team, Partick Thistle, who are 6th in the table.
Looking at the current transfer values of the squads involved versus how many points they’ve accrued, we are hard pressed to ignore the relative success here of Partick Thistle. Not only are they second only to Aberdeen in terms of transfer value vs points, but they do it while receiving a fraction of the support of the Dons.
Partick have to find an identity in a city containing two of the biggest clubs around. To outsiders, everyone in Glasgow supports either Rangers or Celtic and so trying to compete with that is virtually impossible. If Partick was in any other city, they could have been a club which attracted its own fair share of talented youngsters.
In Glasgow, however, all of the best young talent goes to Rangers and Celtic. Therefore, Partick are left looking around the leagues for good value players. Even when they do that, who can they sign with such a limited budget and limited support?
Despite all of their issues, they sit in the top 6 on 41 points from 32 games and comfortably 7 clear of Kilmarnock, who are in 7th. Partick’s only 2 defeats in their last 11 games have both been to Aberdeen.
Given the picture overall, they can be considered as the team of the year in Scotland, competing in what is a very difficult environment whichever way we approach it.