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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Strachan is writers' boss of year
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan
Strachan led Celtic to victory in the CIS Cup final
Celtic's Gordon Strachan has been voted manager of the year by the Scottish Football Writers' Association in the tightest vote ever for the prize.

It follows an often heated debate in the Scottish media, with many also backing Kilmarnock's Jim Jefferies.

SFWA president Jim Black said: "It was a desperately close race and it was highly appropriate that was the case."

Strachan has led Celtic to the Scottish title and victory in the CIS Insurance Cup in his first season with the club.

The former Southampton and Coventry City manager had made a disastrous start to his tenure at Celtic Park, exiting the Champions League after a 5-0 hammering away to Artmedia Bratislava.

Some fans called for his sacking when it was it was quickly followed by a 4-4 draw with Motherwell and his side also later suffered a surprise Scottish Cup exit away to First Division Clyde.
Receiving the manager of the year award reflects the major achievements of the team
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan

But they recovered from those blows to win the Scottish Premier League title in record time and defeat Dunfermline Athletic 3-0 at Hampden.

Former Falkirk, Hearts and Bradford City boss Jefferies had been forced to slash his playing budget at the start of the season but has kept Kilmarnock in the hunt for a Uefa Cup qualification spot.

Amid arguments in the media about their respective merits, Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell had said that to give it to anyone other than Strachan would be for "reasons other than football".

However, Black said: "While Gordon has the silverware, Jim has done an incredible job under very trying circumstances.

"But, given Celtic's trophy success, it can't be disputed that Gordon is the worthy winner."

Strachan, who will be presented with the award at the Glasgow Thistle Hotel on 23 April, said: "Receiving the manager of the year award reflects the major achievements of the team this season.

"The effort and commitment by the players, backroom staff and everyone at the club has been tremendous."

Jefferies had no complaints and said: "Congratulations to Gordon. I'm glad it's all over because it seemed to be every time you picked up a paper, there were people talking about it.

"I said that, if Gordon got it, he would deserve it. And he does.

"It was very satisfying for me even to be considered and it shows that people appreciate the job that is being done at Kilmarnock."

Celtic youngster Shaun Maloney and Hearts duo Paul Hartley and Craig Gordon are believed to be battling for the writers' player of the year prize.

Meanwhile, Kilmarnock's Steven Naismith and Hearts' Calum Elliot are being tipped to land the young player award.



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