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Lennon: SPFA shortlist ´abysmal´

Neil Lennon says it is “abysmal” that the shortlist for SPFA Player of the Year Award contains no players from Celtic.

The Glasgow side were crowned SPL champions after defeating Inverness 4-1 on Sunday, giving them an unassailable 15 points lead over second place Motherwell.

But there was no place on a list consisting of Hibernian’s Leigh Griffiths, Michael Higdon of Motherwell, Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn and Andrew Shinnie of Inverness.

Lennon queried: “Are people voting for the best or most improved player?”

“The outcome of those votes belittles all the efforts of the players.

“That’s not taking anything from the candidates that were nominated. They have all had fine seasons, but to not have one Celtic player in that group is unbelievable.

“I can’t see why there’s no Kris Commons, Gary Hooper, Victor Wanyama or Fraser Forster on that list.”

The shortlist marks the first time in 23 years that a player who does not play for Celtic or Rangers will win the award.

Higdon heads the goal-scoring charts in Scotland after firing 25 goals in all competitions in a productive season for Motherwell.

Griffiths, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, has matched that record and is currently on a second straight season on-loan at the Easter Road club.

Shinnie’s 15 goals from midfield have secured him a summer move to English championship side Birmingham City upon the expiry of his contract.

Griffiths joins Wanyama and Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven of Dundee United in the list for the young player of year award in Scotland.

“I have no idea what way the voting goes but you can’t tell me that Forster, Wanyama, Commons, Kelvin Wilson and Hooper weren’t in the forefronts of people’s minds when the votes were made. It’s ridiculous,” Lennon added.

“There is a lot of ill will in the dressing room now. The players are very, very disappointed with the outcome. They have performed heroically.

“It’s an independent vote. Every player, including the Celtic players gets a vote. We had probably 250-plus returns; we collate them, we put out the top four and it’s the players themselves who decide.”
Fri 26 April, 2013
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