WE’RE getting to the business end of the season and so it was fascinating to see the names chosen by the football writers this week as their nominees for the top awards.  

In the Manager of the Year category there were no huge surprises and everyone deserves to be there but I was pleased to see Steve Clarke as one of those in the running for the prize.

I’d like to think Steve’s inclusion was recognition for the overall job he has done in leading the men’s team to their first major finals for 23 years – although you have to also acknowledge the work done by Alex McLeish to get Scotland to the play-offs.

The closer we get to the start of the Euros you can feel the excitement starting to build all across the country and Steve can take a lot of credit for that.

For me, though, I think the award will go to either Steven Gerrard or Callum Davidson. The Rangers manager will likely be the frontrunner based on the number of games he has won and the consistency the team has shown throughout the season.

Not only has he helped to deliver a first top-tier league title for a decade, he has also driven up the standards and set the bar for what he wants to see from his players every week.

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They are now just two games away from going through the league season undefeated which would be incredible. And a win and a draw against Livingston and Aberdeen would take them to 100 points which would be another major landmark.

He has also delivered success in Europe, getting out of a difficult group without losing a game and then taking the team to the last 16.

The one black mark against him is, of course, the two early cup exits to St Mirren and St Johnstone but Steven would get my vote if I had one.

I think the only way he won’t get it would be if Callum were to lead his team to both domestic cups.

It’s already been a terrific achievement to guide St Johnstone to their first ever League Cup success and if they were to go on and lift the Scottish Cup too then it would be hard to argue against Callum being the Manager of the Year in his first season in the job.

If Saints end up with just one trophy, however, then I think that won’t be enough to take the award away from Gerrard.

The outsider is David Martindale but he still deserves credit for the way he helped turn around Livingston from a team struggling towards the bottom of the league to top six contenders.

They looked a real formidable force during that 14-game unbeaten run that took them to the Betfred Cup final but if there are regrets it will be losing that match and the way their form has dipped of late. But overall it’s been a great start to David’s managerial career.

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It was unusual to see the four nominees for the Player of the Year award all come from the same club which maybe sums up Rangers’ dominance.

I’ve also been impressed this season with St Johnstone’s three centre backs, Jake Doyle-Hayes at St Mirren, Martin Boyle at Hibs and one or two others.

But it would be hard to deny a Rangers player this award given the season they’ve enjoyed.

I’m maybe a bit surprised that there’s no place for Ryan Kent or Joe Aribo but Allan McGregor, Steven Davis, James Tavernier and Connor Goldson are all deserving of their nominations.

It’s a tough choice but I’d give it to Goldson. He’s been incredibly consistent all season and developed a real leader’s mentality. His defensive qualities have been really good but he also initiates a lot of Rangers’ build-up play and he’s really improved his range of passing through the midfield. I think he would be a worthy winner.

There’s a lot to like about the four nominees for the Young Player of the Year award from four different clubs.

I’ve written previously that I’m a huge admirer of Nathan Patterson and I think he’s someone destined for a big future in the game.

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For me, though, I don’t think he’s started enough games to win an award like this. He’s shown potential and if he goes on to have a season where he plays the majority of the games then I’m sure he would have a stronger case at that point.

I suspect the writers will give it to David Turnbull who has recovered from a slow start to his time at Celtic to become a really important player in their team, providing goals and assists.

He plays in that number 10 position with great awareness and is someone who can always find space while creating for others.

I’ve really liked watching Josh Doig flourish at Hibs after coming from almost nowhere.

His style of play matches the team’s as he’s forever trying to get forward from left-back or wing-back and that’s great to see. He’s been impressive all season.

It’s hard to believe Lewis Ferguson still qualifies for this award as he seems to have been around forever!

He’s got the most goals of the four players nominated. He’s a proper athlete but technically and tactically also very good. I’d lean towards him or Josh if I had a vote.