The footballing and personal transformation of Leigh Griffiths was completed last night as he won the Scottish Player of the Year award.
Kieran Tierney won the Young Player of the Year, in what must have been the most one-sided contest ever.
Neither player has a peer in Scotland.
No-one else was ever going to come close.
Few players have ever deserved the top honour more than Griffiths, who’s personal and footballing journey has been extraordinary since he first pulled on the Hoops. He’s transformed as a person and as a player in a way that has been truly inspirational.
To be a Celtic players is to be a role model. Griffiths has grown into that responsibility.
He has become a professional in every sense of the word, the kind of guy who can anchor a team but who’s name you’d be proud to put on your kids’ jersey.
Kieran, on the other hand, just has everything, pre-packed, already in place.
A great pro, a great role model, head screwed on, doesn’t rattle under pressure … you only had to watch his performance in the semi-final to see what a class act he is. He’s grown, for sure, but this kid had a lot of maturity to start with and although already a fine player we’re going to see him develop into a truly exceptional one.
Vultures are circling us over Kieran.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them circling us over Leigh too.
Whatever the board thinks it’s doing, there should be no question at all of selling either player, no matter the price.
Neither is angling for a move. Both are very happy at Celtic Park.
The core unit must be kept together through the summer, albeit except for those players an incoming manager decides to jettison, and he should be free to do so without interference no matter how many sacred cows he wants to slaughter.
It says something for how good these two players are that they’ve won the big awards in a year when the team, overall, has been pretty damned poor.
There have been whole stretches of this season when Leigh has almost carried the team himself.
His goals have been vital, and the sheer number of them has been extraordinary.
Regular readers will know how highly I rate Griffiths, and that I said from the start that he would hit 100 goals in a Celtic shirt.
Depending on what happens with Kris Commons in the close season, he might well be the next Celtic player to do so.
What even I hadn’t expected was that he would come close to hitting half that total in a single season.
It’s an extraordinary achievement, and as much as the number of goals is the sheer range of them; he’s scored long distance shots, tap ins, goals where he’s created the openings himself, others when he’s got on the end of hard one by teammates, he’s scored in the air, from free kicks, with the left foot and with the right.
Kieran’s development has been just as – perhaps even more – extraordinary. I cannot remember the last time a young Celtic player broke into the team and made a position his own so readily, or easily, and he deserves immense credit for the way he’s done so.
All in all, we have two amazing footballers here who should be the lynchpins of this team going forward.
They are both excellent professionals and it’s time for the board to ditch this diabolical policy of selling off our top assets.
These guys, and players like Sviatchenko, are the ones the next great Celtic side should be built around.