2019/20 Golden Scarf Awards – Goal of the Season
Having decided the recipients of the inaugural Golden Scarf Awards for Scotland’s Men, Women and Youth teams, the final award to decide is the combined Goal of the Season.
There are some strong contenders in this category with a mix of long-range finishes, team goals and moments of individual brilliance in important games.
As ever, the winner will be decided by you, through voting in the Twitter poll found here & at the bottom of this article.
The nominees are…
John McGinn – Scotland 3-1 Kazakhstan Euro 2020 Qualifying – 19 November 2019
Of course, we had to include a John McGinn goal! We wrote in his profile for Scotland Men’s Player of the Season that McGinn’s record of seven goals in six games would be impressive for a striker for any international team, let alone a midfielder in Scotland’s dark blue!
Scotland fans really saw the best of John McGinn in 19/20, with a lot of the credit going to his Aston Villa manager Dean Smith who trusted McGinn with the license to roam closer to goal. This has seen McGinn provide a more consistent scoring threat, scoring three EPL goals before being injured at Christmas. McGinn took that attacking freedom into his Scotland appearances with devastating effect.
Re-watching his seven goals from 19/20, it’s remarkable how similar they are. McGinn finds himself in the right place at the right time often, usually deep inside the box.
Against Russia he was quickest to react to a rebound off the keeper to finish. His three finishes against San Marino included a deft touch on Ryan Christie’s cross, reacting first to another goalkeeper parry and scoring from a Stuart Findlay knockdown inside the box. In Cyprus he finished a Greg Taylor cross on the volley. At Hampden against Kazakhstan he scored his first from outside the box, blasting a free kick from the edge of the box through a thicket of legs to score.
For this award, we’ve chosen the seventh of McGinn’s Scotland goals this season. It is the clinching third goal against Kazakhstan in the 91st minute and it’s a really nicely worked team goal. Scott McKenna has the ball at centre back when he plays a pass to Ryan Jack at the half-way line. Jack sends a first time pass sideways to left back Greg Taylor. Taylor returns the ball to Jack before making a run down the left wing. Jack comes upfield, delaying, before sending a pass back to Taylor who has beaten the full back and is now in space in the left channel.
Meanwhile, McGinn has made another trademark driving run between the centre backs into the box. Taylor sends a low pass to the edge of the six-yard box where McGinn, while coming off balance after a tangle with the Kazakh CB, stabs the ball home with his left foot.
Ten touches, five of which were passes and the ball has gone from back to front and resulted in a very nice team goal from Scotland. Full replay here.
Erin Cuthbert – Scotland 1–1 Northern Ireland
Pinatar Cup – 10 March 2020
There is so much to love about Erin Cuthbert. Since becoming the first female player to score for Scotland at a European Championships in 2017, her career has gone from strength to strength. In her profile nominating her for the Golden Scarf Award for SWNT Player of the Season, Chris Marshall touted her ‘tenacity and exuberance’.
With that in mind, it would only be right to select her most exuberant goal for Scotland in the 19/20 season. We’re therefore nominating her wonder-strike against Northern Ireland in the Pinatar Cup in March 2020.
Quickest to react, Cuthbert intercepted a low clearance from a defender outside the box. Taking one touch to steady herself, she unleashed a swinging, dipping, curling effort that started in the centre of the goal before landing in the top right. The goalkeeper Jacqueline Burns was left to helplessly pick the ball out of the net. Full replay here.
Ryan Christie – Cyprus 0–1 Scotland Euro 2020 Qualifying – 16 November 2020
Ryan Christie enjoyed a very productive 19/20 season, scoring once for Scotland and providing two assists. He brought his Celtic form to national level, often playing on the right-hand side of Scotland’s midfield. This allowed him to cut inside on his stronger left foot to deliver the ball.
Against Cyprus, Scotland took the lead early and it was through a combination of McGinn and Christie. Callum McGregor played a pass to McGinn in midfield who felt the tight press of his marker and intelligently rolled his marker, turning upfield with one touch.
McGinn quickly played a short pass to Christie before sprinting forward to keep the defence occupied. On Christie’s right, Palmer was sprinting down the wing to hold the Cypriot full-back wide.
Those two support runs helped Christie find a channel to bear down on goal before sending a perfect left-footed shot into the top left corner. Full replay here.
Josh McPake – Scotland u19 1–0 Germany u19
Euro u19 2020 Qualifier – 15 October 2019
Our fourth and final nominee for Goal of the Season comes from Scotland’s youth ranks and a sensational goal against strong opponents. In October 2019, Scotland’s u19 side recorded an excellent 1-0 win over Germany at Firhill to secure qualification to the Elite Round of u19 qualifiers. Covid-19 has since seen the Elite Round and the subsequent Finals postponed.
The goal, from the Rangers winger (who spent 19/20 on loan at Dundee) Josh McPake, is an excellent finish after a set piece routine broke down.
A free kick from the right was cleared by the first man only as far as the free kick taker, Aberdeen’s Dean Campbell. He strode forward before sending a delicate through ball to McPake who had spun off his marker into space on the right-hand side of the box.
Taking the ball in and fronting up his marker, he quickly shuffled the ball from one foot to the other, giving himself a sliver of space to take the ball to the by-line. From an incredibly tight angle, he sent the ball across goal. Was it a cross? Perhaps. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say he meant to send the ball into the side netting on the other side of the goal.
An important goal and one of the highest quality. Full replay here.
And the winner is...
After 883 votes via the Twitter Poll, Ryan Christie was awarded the Golden Scarf Award for Goal of the Season in recognition of his stunning goal against Cyprus, congratulations Ryan!