scottish-premiership-team-of-the-season-so-far-|-pick-your-xi

Scottish Premiership team of the season so far | Pick your XI

Following an eventful and unpredictable start to the Scottish Premiership season, Kris Boyd and Andy Walker have picked their teams of the campaign so far.

Rangers lead the way from rivals Celtic by six points but just two players from each side feature in Walker’s XI, while Boyd has selected three from either half of the Old Firm.

The pair agreed on just four selections and also went for different formations – with players from Dundee United, Hearts, Hibernian, Motherwell and Ross County also selected.

Walker: Quality of Premiership is fantastic

Walker said: “I’ve gone for Craig Gordon in goal – he has been outstanding at this stage of his career and you need to bear in mind the fact he’s bounced back from such a serious time with injury.

“He was released by Celtic after a really successful spell and you thought he would just be on his way down but he’s shown he’s still capable of making fantastic saves and he’s back in the international fold. It’s a remarkable story.

Harry Clark might surprise people with Ross County near the bottom of the league but I’ve seen them a few times and this young lad, on-loan from Arsenal, has got the physique, energy and running power. I think he could play at a far bigger club in the future.

“Motherwell have a player in Bevis Mugabi who is totally committed and can play in a three or on the right as a back four. He’s got the ability to get up and down that pitch too. He’s a real team player.

Leon Balogun impresses me when I see him. The game he played against Celtic, when it was so surprising to see him start, he handled that occasion very well. That’s what I like about some players, you’re thrown in at the deep end and they survive and show you they have so much potential.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights from Ibrox where Balogun impressed for Rangers as they beat Celtic 1-0

“And when you see what someone like Stephen Kingsley has brought to this Hearts team including those free-kicks – he’s a real asset to this XI.

“WIth someone like Joe Newell, he doesn’t necessarily score goals but my goodness he can pass a ball.

“He can take it in a tight area and he can keep possession – it’ll be interesting to see how he develops under the management of Shaun Maloney.

Joe Newell

Image:
Newell has impressed Walker in the first-half of the season

“I’ve also gone with Joe Aribo who has arguably been Rangers’ most consistent player this season and also in there is Jeando Fuchs who has really impressed, especially in the early part of the season.

“I thought his level of performance was one of the main reasons Dundee United were consistent keeping clean sheets and winning games just by the odd goal.

Jota and Kyogo have impressed since arriving at Celtic. I think their performance in the game against Dundee at Dens Park, when they were scoring and setting up goals, stood out. They’ve done that consistently.

“Finally, I’ve gone for Tony Watt. I’m a bit surprised that he’s set to move to Dundee United as I thought he’d found somewhere where he was really happy at Motherwell.

“His goal against Dundee United was sensational and United do need someone to replace Lawrence Shankland so if they get Watt, they’ll get a goalscorer who might be in the best form of his career.”

Boyd: Versatility is the key for my team

Boyd said: “Like Andy I have been so impressed with how Craig Gordon has performed this season – some of his saves have been tremendous and he’s a real asset to Hearts.

“Instead of Andy’s back four, I’ve gone with a back three of John Souttar, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Charlie Mulgrew.

“Dundee United have been strong defensively – especially in the early part of this season. Mulgrew’s partnership alongside Ryan Edwards has been good but I’ve decided to go with Charlie because of the flexibility he brings to my team as he can move to the left-back area too.

“Celtic have conceded the least amount of goals in the league and I think Carter-Vickers has been key to that. He’s been the one who has been the most consistent.

“I’ve mentioned Gordon at Hearts but the man in front of him John Souttar has been excellent too. He’s another one who has had to come back from injury troubles and show that strength to battle back and earn his place in the team.

“He’s not only done that but got into the Scotland squad and scored that goal in the win over Denmark – he’s been great.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Souttar capped an emotional return to the Scotland side with a goal against Denmark, three years after he last turned out for his national side

“It might seem straight to slot James Tavernier into the right of my midfield four but his numbers speak for themselves. When you look at his contribution to Rangers this season he’s been excellent.

“Coming back that point of flexability in my team, he could drop into that right-back slot too while Mulgrew then moves to the other side.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tavernier features the best goals scored in October from across the Scottish Premiership

“Joining Tavernier in midfield is Glen Kamara and Joe Aribo. Glen comes in just ahead of Callum McGregor who has also had an excellent season so far but his team-mate at Celtic Jota would come in on that left-side and has already shown this season how dangerous he can be from there.

“My front three features players from three different clubs. First up it’s Martin Boyle who has been excellent for Hibs. The versatility and flexibility he has is really impressive, he can play up-front, right wing-back and right midfield – he’s done really well this season.

“Motherwell will be gutted if they lose Tony Watt. It wasn’t so long ago he couldn’t get a game and now we’re speaking about him getting back in the Scotland squad. I think that shows how well he has done in the opening few months of the season.

“And finally, Kyogo who has been a breath of fresh air since he came to Scottish football.

“His movement has been first class and his finishing has been really good as well. The impact he’s had has probably kept Celtic within touching distance of Rangers as there have been a lot of games that have been tight and he’s been able to find that opener or winner.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Kyogo scored his first Celtic hat-trick in a 6-0 win over Dundee

Which managers have stood out?

Walker said: “Graham Alexander has taken Motherwell into the top half of the table. He has very modest resources and had another big change in players there.

“I looked at them at the start of the season and thought they would struggle, but they’ve surprised me. They’ve been really consistent and they’ve won some big games.”

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson (left) with Motherwell manager Graham Alexander during the cinch Premiership match between Heart of Midlothian and Motherwell at Tynecastle on October 02, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Boyd said: “There have been two outstanding candidates for me. Tam Courts has done an excellent job at Dundee United but I’m going to go for Robbie Neilson.

“The job that he’s done, being able to take Hearts up in the first place then go and perform the way they have so far is impressive.”

Pick your best XI using our team selector