Player of the year: David Weir (Rangers)
He's Weir, not weary. David Weir won the Scottish Premier League's player of the year, led Rangers to a second successive SPL title and became the oldest man to play for Scotland when he turned out against Lithuania in September. 2010 has been a vintage year for a vintage defender.
There is little doubt in this onlooker's opinion that Weir, a youthful 40, has been the most protruding player in the Scottish Premier League over the past 12 months.
Weir has been an inspired leader of Rangers, while he has also unearthed large dollops of patriotism by answering the call to play for his country. He returned to play against Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Spain in a key series of Euro 2012 qualifying matches when it became evident that the younger generation of Scottish players were not up to the required standard.
With 69 caps, Weir is the sixth-most capped player to turn out for Scotland. He surely ranks among the best Scotland have had in his position.
The reason behind such resounding success seems to be his voracious appetite to play. As captain of Rangers he talks a good game and tends to play one most weeks.
Weir seems to get better with age. His positional sense is something to behold: who needs reserves of pace when you read the game so well.
Weir celebrated becoming the third oldest player to play in the Champions League by helping Rangers snag a 0-0 draw at Manchester United in September. He is easily mobile enough to continue next season in his 41st year.
Walter Smith is due to step down as Rangers manager in May, but the Glasgow club's fans must hope Weir hangs around a bit longer. They'll miss him when he is gone.
Most controversial moment: Dougie McDonald and the penalty that never was
Alas, poor Dougie. Never has such a white lie had such a blackening effect on Scotland's national sport. When the gone-but-not-forgotten referee Dougie McDonald awarded Celtic a penalty at Tannadice in October before changing his mind, he set in motion a sequence of events that ended up with Scotland's whistling fraternity going out on strike within the space of a barmy four-week period. McDonald watched Gary Hooper tumble under pressure from the home goalkeeper Dusan Pernis during Celtic's 2-1 win at Dundee United at a teeming Tannadice.
He immediately thought a penalty was the right call then altered his mind before consulting the assistant referee.
The major problems emerged when McDonald admitted to telling a fib to the Celtic manager Neil Lennon after the match about how he arrived at such a decision.
McDonald told Lennon the linesman alerted him before he made the decision when he had already decided to alter his mind before consulting the linesman. Sounds a bit silly, but little did we know what lay in store.
Lennon was fed the fabricated version amid some crazed scenes afterwards when he seemed on the verge of leading the visiting fans in a conga of Discoland up Tannadice Street. McDonald resigned after John Reid, a noisy Celtic chairman, had used the club's AGM to describe McDonald's position as "untenable". Getting sillier by the second? Very much so.
In the midst of the controversy over McDonald and murmurings among some fans of institutional bias at the Scottish Football Association against Celtic, Scotland's referees went on strike for a week claiming their integrity had been questioned by officials at clubs.
They expressed the feeling that their personal safety was under threat from fans away from the grounds in a quite rancid period in time for the health of the game. A smattering of referees from overseas were brought in to deal with the problems, including Alain Hamer from Luxembourg who officiated Celtic's match with Inverness in the SPL. Referees from Portugal arrived in Scotland then flew out again in fear of being called scabs. And on it went.
Hugh Dallas, the Scottish Football Association's head of referee development, was also swallowed up by the whole sorry saga after allegedly using a work email address to forward on a "joke" about the Pope. As has been said, you could not make some of this stuff up.
Lennon is facing discplinary action over complaints he made against the match officials Willie Collum and Craig Thomson in other outings, but the New Year will hopefully bring a sense of peace and respect among Scotland's managers and referees. With an Old Firm game pencilled in for January 2 that may sound far-fetched, but we live in hope.
Three players to watch in 2011
David Templeton (Hearts)
There used to be a winger who played for Ayr United in the Scottish First Division in the 1980s called Henry Templeton. He was a tricky, smallish figure who could come up with the odd moment of genius in a match.
It is little surprise that his son is a chip off the old block. Templeton, 21, looks like a throwback to the days when Scottish football was the natural home of wide men, but he looks destined to do it a higher level than his dad.
Helped by Templeton's vast array of talents and his mobility, Hearts have been roaring in recent weeks winning eight and drawing one of their past ten SPL games.
"The lad Templeton is something special," commented the Inverness manager Terry Butcher after a 1-1 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle. Having been at Rangers when Davie Cooper regularly tormented opponents, Butcher knows the components that make up a grand winger.
"I would pay money to watch him and he was on the other team," continued the former England captain. "He's just incredible, full of confidence."
Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic)
The man named Emilio is the left-back with the touch of a left winger. He is perhaps not the greatest defender in the world, but who needs to defend when you are so good going forward. Izaguirre rarely gives the ball away cheaply. He would rather play his way out of trouble, and he loves to rampage down a flank.
The Honduran has a velvety touch, has pace and looks like being one of the bargains of this or any other season. He was not signed for more than £1million, according to reports. Nice work if you can get it.
The Central American Danny McGrain will attract the attention of some blue-chip clubs around Europe if he continues to attain excellence.
Conor Sammon (Kilmarnock)
Sammon is suddenly a big fish in a small pond. A bit of belief works wonders for a player. Irishman Sammon has scored twice against Rangers this season and once against Celtic in an overall contribution of 12 goals in the SPL. The only striker ahead of him is the excellent Kenny Miller of Rangers with 19. Sammon's total at a provincial club such as Kilmarnock is noteworthy.
Kilmarnock will receive greater returns if they can keep this player at Rugby Park over the next few years, but an offer is likely to be forthcoming if he continues to wallow in goals.
Match of the year: Scotland v Spain
From the ridiculous to the sublime, Scotland's national side traditionally never retreat from a touch of farce. And so it was the way it had to be in Autumn. A couple of days after they visited Prague to face the Czech Republic and played with no strikers in a wretched 4-6-0 formation that almost ended up with national coach Craig Levein being hung, drawn and quartered on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, Scotland fell just short of becoming unofficial world champions by tipping over Spain in Glasgow.
Scotland fell two goals behind to efforts from David Villa and Andres Iniesta, but summoned up powers of recovery from yesteryear that had Hampden Park and a glorious Spanish side rocking.
Steven Naismith and Gerard Pique's own goal saw the match head for the final 20 minutes level at 2-2 before Stephen McManus misjudged a header and the enormous Fernando Llorente re-established the natural order of the world game with the winning goal.
Spain's manager Vicente Del Bosque was suitably impressed by the home team's bravado.
"It was more down to the character and fighting spirit of Scotland, they fought to the end of the game, but we managed to convert our chances," he said.
In the end it was another case of glorious failure, but every Scot would take this manner of losing over Prague every time. Defeat has never tasted so good.
Manager of the year: Walter Smith (Rangers)
There are a few contenders for this award. The evergreen Craig Brown is entering a new chapter of his chapter of his career as a coach at the age of 70. He's too old to retire, as Sir Alex Ferguson recently commented when pondering a less hectic lifestyle.
Having guided Motherwell to a place in the top six of the SPL and a few early rounds of the Europa League qualifiers in which he almost ended up in a boxing match with an opposing official of Odense, the former Scotland manager was rewarded with the chance to snaffle up the top job at Aberdeen earlier this month.
Brown tends to have that unique ability in that players understand his orders, and respond with as much intensity as their manager wishes. Tactically, he has always been mightily astute. He deserves his chance to manage Aberdeen, no matter what is said about disloyalty. Football has never been a loyal business. He was right to take the job to advance his own ambitions. My money would be on him and Archie Knox being successful in their new roles in 2011, because they are steeped in the ways of the Scottish game.
Jim Jefferies returned to Hearts at the outset of the year, and has pieced together some vibrant moments this season as his side pursue Rangers and Celtic at the summit of the Scottish Premier League.
If Hearts can avoid injury, suspension and nerves, they would appear to possess genuine ability in their attempts to pressurise the league's main two protagonists.
Peter Houston proved there is life after Craig Levein by coaching Dundee United to their first Scottish Cup final since 1994 before carrying off the trophy with a 2-0 win over Ross County on a real tangerine day out at Hampden Park in May.
Terry Butcher seems to have found the Highland capital of Inverness a home away from home. Having returned the club to the SPL from the First Division at the first attempt, Butcher's side continue to catch fire in the highest league. They have gone a full calender year without experiencing defeat away from home. They are fourth top of the SPL standings. They are a tough nut to crack.
Jimmy Calderwood returned briefly at the start of the year to run
Kilmarnock. He saved them from relegation in May. Due to restrictions
over transfer budgets, he did not continue after the summer, but
surely there must be a club in Scotland who can benefit from the work
of Calderwood, a football explorer of some substance. John 'Yogi'
Hughes also departed Hibernian after a faltering start to the season.
played some regal stuff under Hughes last season, but it is difficult
to keep up the momentum in the SPL on a weekly basis as Tony Mowbray
found out. Mowbray had an honourable enough vision of what he wanted
from Celtic, but unfortunately time is never in great supply when you
are part of a two-horse race to snare the country's biggest prize. He wound up with only a pinched expression.
Neil Lennon steadied the ship at Celtic by overseeing wins in the final eight games of last season that earned him a full-time contract to run the Glasgow club in his first job in management.
Lennon looks a safer pair of hands than the misunderstood Mowbray, but the man across the city of Glasgow remains head and shoulders above the competition in Scotland.
Walter Smith has been sickened publicly as Rangers have been dragged through the uncertainty of bank intervention at boardroom level, but his ability and integrity have shone through in claiming then defending the Scottish Premier League title while spending little or no money. Smith remains something of an alchemist in his ability to piece together waifs and strays, and turn them into winning teams.
Despite Mowbray's pursuit of stylish football at Celtic, Smith decided to stick to winning games, which is what any sport is about. Rangers were never in danger in their quest to pick up the SPL.
They also lifted the League Cup and performed solidly in the Champions League in earning draws with Manchester United and Valencia, while beating Bursaspor to ensure a place in the Europa League after Christmas.
All this has been done while the club have battled significant levels of debt in the claustrophobic environs of the SPL. Smith stuck by Rangers in their hour of need. He can head off into the sunset at the end of the season having shown that he was not only a winning manager of Rangers with money in his mitts.
Most obvious piece of advice of the year
A bit like being Vince Cable, sometimes you don't see problems until they rise up and hit you in the face.
Having had to rebuild his squad from scratch during the close season, it was always unlikely that the Celtic manager Neil Lennon would get it right in his first round of signings.
Just like the business secretary Cable is not a fan of Rupert Murdoch, Lennon cannot be content with the men who are passing themselves off as central defenders in his Celtic side. Lennon brought in Daniel Majstorovic on a Bosman from AEK Athens, but has been badly let down by the Swedish player's lack of pace and indecision in key moments.
With Jos Hooiveld offering little or no evidence to suggest he will be good enough to provide the answers, these are the issues Lennon needs to face up to in January.
It is not an insurmountable problem, but it is one that has flummoxed a number of Celtic's managers over the years. Lennon is urgently in need of two quality stoppers and a ball-winning, dominant midfielder in January if Celtic are to go the distance with Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.
There is a severe shortage of leaders in this Celtic side. Joe Ledley arrived with a big reputation as a summer Bosman from Cardiff City, but has struggled for the required levels of consistency. Celtic are bereft of real growlers in most areas, and that is a concern.
Robbie Keane was brought in to sell some jerseys a year ago when defenders were the order of the day. The same issues are evident a year on.
The mood in the camp was perhaps best illustrated by the Norwegian defender Thomas Rogne after Celtic were held to a 1-1 draw by Kilmarnock at a freezing Celtic Park during the week.
"We are too soft. We concede stupid goals and we don't finish it off when we should. Just as much as we gave away an easy goal, we were not able to score."
As long as Lennon can see the woods from the trees, preferably a couple of giant redwoods at the back, the Northern Irishman could yet make good on his New Year resolutions.
I hope you all have a happy and peaceful festive period. Thanks for your continued interest in the Scottish game. This blog will return in the New Year.