With the season coming to an end later this month, the awards are being dished out to the best that Scottish football has to offer this season. Scotzine are asking their contributors to look at this yearâ€™s Player of the Year nominees and declare who they think should win the crown. First up is Steven Kellow.
Aberdeen have had one of their most successful seasons in decades this year, and while trophies have eluded them this time, their performance in finishing second in the Premiership and very close to leaders Celtic has been an incredible feat.
No player deserves more credit for Aberdeenâ€™s surge to the top than Adam Rooney, the leading light of Aberdeenâ€™s attack and, for my money, this seasonâ€™s Player of the Year.
Rooney has thrived in the Scottish game ever since arriving at Inverness Caley Thistle seven years ago. There he established himself as a real menace and goal threat in a side that otherwise lacked the potency to have a go at some of the bigger clubs in Scotland. From there he moved around several clubs in England, struggling to find the form that made him known, but when Derek McInnes snapped him up in January 2014 things began to work again.
Just as he did at Caley, Rooney has done fantastically well at his new home at Aberdeen. Last year he was the Donsâ€™ darling as he scored the final penalty kick to see them lift the League Cup against his former club.
Despite an injury that kept him out of much of the rest of the season, he showed the signs that he would excel at Pittodrie and this season has seen him pick up the credit he has long since deserved. He has scored a goal in every other game for Aberdeen since signing on with them last year, which is a tremendous feat that few other players in Britain could match.
He may be modest, saying that his nomination was down to the other players â€œsetting up sittersâ€ for him but the truth is that Rooney is the perfect player to front Aberdeenâ€™s bold attack, with a strong presence that anchors the quick and creative players around him and a finishing ability that coverts chances into goals. Niall McGinn has been his partner in crime all too often this season, and the link-up play between the two of them has been deadly in the Premiership.
Seeing Aberdeen play is a joy to watch, and no wonder when youâ€™ve got such exciting players capable of carving a goal out at any point. Aberdeen have been a flowing team under Derek McInnes, but at times before they were almost too blasÃ© about it, focussing on good football rather than putting the ball in the net. Adam Rooney has been the one to catch on to this and it has helped Aberdeen hit the heights they have this year.
Adam Rooney is set to finish as top scorer in the Premiership this year, being only the second non Old Firm striker to earn that accolade in the last twenty years.
While his other competitors have all had good seasons, none of them have quite shone as brightly in their respective roles in this campaign as Rooney has. He has carved a place in history for himself amongst some of the greats of the Scottish game in finishing as the top scorer and I think that itâ€™s more than right that he deserves credit as the player thatâ€™s made the most difference in Scotland this year.
In December last year, Aberdeen received a fantastic Christmas present in Rooney signing a contract extension which will see him stay at Pittodrie until 2018. With his impeccable form itâ€™ll be a major surprise if some English Championship teams donâ€™t come knocking on the Pittodrie doors during the summer for him; but given his weaker record during his spell in England and the chance of European football and possibly more trophies with the Dons, whether he will go or not is unclear.
But if he picks up the Player of the Year award as I feel he should, there wonâ€™t be many who donâ€™t recognise Adam Rooneyâ€™s ability to play at a high level.