Pundits split on Scottish manager of year award

 

Former Celtic midfielders Paul Lambert and Murdo MacLeod believe the champions' Neil Lennon should be crowned Scotland's manager of the year.

But Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels goes for Stuart McCall because of Motherwell's likely second-top finish.

Terry Butcher of Inverness and Queen of the South's Allan Johnston are the others on the PFA Scotland shortlist .

Aston Villa manager Lambert, former Celtic assistant MacLeod and Shiels were speaking on BBC Radio Scotland.

Lambert, who also played for Motherwell, thought that qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League swayed it in the Celtic manager's favour.

Celtic took Barcelona on and not many teams can do that. Neil Lennon's just had a brilliant season

Paul Lambert Aston Villa manager

"I know you can get judged by your resources and all that sort of thing, but it's hard to look by - and it's not just because he's a good friend - Neil Lennon," he told Sportsound.

"What they did in the Champions League, realistically should never have been done.

"That's just incredible what they went through.

"It doesn't matter what you are up against, winning the league title is a really tough thing to do. He's done it again.

"He's got Celtic into the Champions League and went into the last 16.

"They took Barcelona on and not many teams can do that. He's just had a brilliant season.

"I know Stuart has done great at Motherwell as well, but I just think that, at the sharp end of it, Lenny deserves to win it."

Lambert, whose Aston Villa side secured their Premier League survival with a 6-1 hammering of Sunderland on Monday, thought Lennon could do well in England should he decide to leave Celtic in the summer.

"He's managed Celtic, one of the biggest clubs in European football, the size of it," he said.

"I haven't spoken to him for a bit, although we've exchanged texts. Whether he would want to go to England, I'm not so sure.

"But I don't think anybody could question what he's done for Celtic in the time he's been there."

MacLeod, who like Lambert also played for Borussia Dortmund and Scotland, agreed that Lennon deserves the award to be presented on Sunday but praised the others.

However, he thought it unfair to put Johnston, who has led Queens to a runaway Division Two title win, in the same awards bracket as the other three contenders.

It is amazing what Stuart McCall's achieved with a small budget

Kenny Shiels Kilmarnock manager

"If it was down to the league alone, it would be Stuart McCall, but when you look at what Celtic have done in the Champions League and reaching the Scottish Cup final to come, it has to be Neil Lennon," he said.

"I watched Terry's team at the start of the season and they were terrible at the back and you thought 'they are going to struggle' and yet he's turned it all around, so consistent home and away, a great team spirit.

"I watched Motherwell at the weekend and the team spirit was fantastic. Their work-rate put Celtic under pressure."

While praising Lennon and his players, Shiels pointed out that Celtic, having won fewer than half of their away games, have underachieved in the SPL.

"I think what Stuart has achieved this season has been remarkable, taking Celtic until the end of April before they won the title," he said.

"It is amazing what he's achieved with a small budget.

"It's so much more difficult to manage a team whose players are not as good as the opposition, like Celtic.

"Managing a football team is so much easier if you are working with the quality Celtic are working with.

"Stuart McCall has been working with 100th of the budget of Celtic, as has Terry Butcher and Ross County's Derek Adams."