Football - Hammell praises Higdon

Stevie Hammell has hailed Motherwell team-mate Michael Higdon for winning over the fans and securing what he believes is a well-deserved nomination for PFA Scotland player of the year.

PA Sport
Football - Hammell praises Higdon

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Michael Higdon has scored 24 goals for Motherwell this season

It took a few months for some Motherwell fans to appreciate Higdon's attributes after he arrived from St Mirren in the summer of 2011 but he is now the holder of the club post-war record for league goals scored in a top-flight season with 24 so far ahead of the visit of Celtic on Sunday.

Hammell said: "I'm delighted for big Higgy. I think he deserves it. The goals he has scored have been excellent. We have players who can create chances but he tucks them away and makes it look easy. He has been scoring all kinds of goals - the two he scored up at Tannadice last week were excellent."

The 31-year-old added: "He has shown great character. It was only a small minority of fans but you could hear them at games and you could see it was getting to him. But he slowly turned it around and he has been scoring goals for fun this season.

"He has come back from being someone who gets a little bit of stick to someone who is one of the fans' favourites, so fair play to him."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was not quite so pleased with the four-man award shortlist, which also contains Hibernian talisman Leigh Griffiths, Inverness playmaker Andrew Shinnie and Aberdeen forward Niall McGinn.

Lennon described the absence of any of his title-winning side as "abysmal" and a "smack in the face" for their efforts in reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.

Hammell said: "I can see why they are disappointed about it, they are top of the league and have done well in the cups and in Europe. But you hear the arguments for the other way: because they have done really well as a team, there has not been one stand-out individual.

"They have had six or seven players who have done really well but not one stand-out. If you ask Celtic fans who is their player of the year, a lot of them would come up with a different one.

"The way the boys vote, there is a lot of structure in it. It's not the first year they have been doing it. It's been going well every year so I don't see the problem with the way it's been getting done."

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