Northern Ireland and Rangers midfielder Steven Davis has been named as the Scottish Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year for the 2020-21 season.
The Northern Ireland captain topped the writers’ poll in Scotland ahead of Rangers skipper James Tavernier and two other team-mates, defender Connor Goldson and goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
The former Southampton midfielder, who made his 800th career appearance in the 4-0 win over Aberdeen at Ibrox yesterday, had a terrific season as he orchestrated Rangers’ title win in the SPFL Premiership.
The 36-year-old was also part of the team that secured Rangers' previous title in 2010-11 before he joined Southampton in 2012.
He returned to Ibrox in 2019 from the Saints - initially on a six-month loan deal which became permanent in May that year - and despite a shaky start to his second spell at the club he has become a mainstay in Steven Gerrard’s team, who lifted the Premiership trophy following yesterday’s success against the Dons.
Davis directs play from deep in the current Rangers team, who completed an ‘invincible’ season after 32 victories and six draws in their 38 league games, finishing on 102 points with 92 in the goals for column and just 13 conceded.
The veteran playmaker told the Daily Record: “The manager here deserves huge praise from me. When you’re setting up a team you recognise the attributes that individuals have and try to find a system that works for them.
“The way we play in midfield, and the role I’m asked to play, certainly suits my attributes and gives me the platform to perform at my best.
“I thoroughly enjoy playing in this position. The way we are set up and the players I have around me allows me to show my qualities, so the manager and coaching staff have to take massive credit for that.
“And, of course, just giving me the belief to do it as well. There’s nothing more a player can ask for than the manager’s trust. You’ve got to gain that but whenever you have it, it’s a great feeling.”
As is his way, Davis showed great humility when accepting the Scottish Player of the Year award. He said he would have given the accolade to team-mate Allan McGregor, who was named SPFL Player of the Year.
He said: “It wasn’t even on my radar that I’d be in a position to win an award like this so I have to thank everyone who voted for me and felt I deserved it. When you start a season you just want to have an impact and help the team be successful. This season has gone really well for me and it’s great to be recognised for that.
“But we’ve had numerous performers in the team who could rightly say they deserve it. Greegsy (McGregor) has been absolutely outstanding. He’s been at the club for a long time and is still performing to a high level.
“It’s been difficult to pick just one because of the season we’ve had. There are players who haven’t even been nominated. But, personally, it’s very special to win this Player of the Year award.”