THERE was a double celebration for Andy Ward as he picked up the supporters and committee player of the year award for Glencairn at last years night out.
The stopper has made 21 appearances for the Glens this season, making himself a mainstay of a defence that helped steer the club into mid-table after a poor start to the campaign.
There was recognition from his peers for midfield maestro Joe McAlpine who scooped the Players Player of the Year prize, as well as the top scorer gong, while defender Andy Neil and midfielder Mark Scott shared the Young Player of the Year award.
The night was a great success for the club and gaffer Willie Harvey felt all the prizes were well deserved.
He said: “The night went very well, everyone enjoyed themselves and obviously the people who won prizes had a great time.
“I can have no complaints about any of the awards.
“Since the halfway point of the season Andy Ward has really come into his own. I’m pleased for the big man considering last year people were pointing the finger at him when we were battling relegation.
“He was playing with a bad injury but was one of the few to stand up and be counted.
“Joe McAlpine is a tremendous player and someone the players respond to. He’s well liked on and off the park.
“To me the award that matters is the players one because it is the guys you are playing with every week.”
Willie thought Andy Neil was a little unfortunate to miss out on one of the top prizes but he and his coaching staff made him the joint young player of the year.
He said: “I think there was three of them who could have gotten the top awards and it could have gone either way. By all accounts there was only a few votes in it.
“Andy Neil has stepped up from the 21s and I think he was very unfortunate to be up against Joe and Andy Ward. The three of them have been very close.
“Both he and Mark deserve the recognition, it was impossible to pick between them.”
The under 21 awards were also dished out at the Glencairn Venue on May 25. Del Esplin and Ross McNeil shared the Player of the Year award while Ross McNeill picked up the Players player prize as well as the top scorer award with his whopping haul of 82 goals in all competitions.
Stephen Sideserf was the young players of the year.
The 21s will take part in the West of Scotland Final on June 9 at Greenfield Park in Shettleston against Harmony Row and Willie said it was a just reward for the hard work put in by the young Glens.
He said: “It was one of the first things I did when I came here. You have got to discover your own youth and bring them through the ranks.
“The under 21s have come on leaps and bounds. They were promoted last season and challenged for the league this year as well as getting to the cup final and other semi-finals.
“I cannot praise their backroom staff enough and it shows how good they are by the way the players have responded when they have come up to the first team.
“They certainly don’t look out of place.”
The efforts of the 21s helped net coach George Fotheringham a special recognition award along with groundsman and Willie’s cousin, Brian Harvey.
Willie said both awards were well deserved and revealed former Dunfermline player George had expressed an interest in playing next season.
He said: “George’s antics at the side of the park are well known, I think he expends more energy than the players.
“It’s possible that he could be playing next season. He’ll train during the summer and see if he can get his fitness up. It’s something he’s excited about so we’ll see what happens.
“The work Brian puts in just couldn’t go unrecognised. He’s up at that park whatever the weather.
“I’m not saying this just because he’s my cousin but the effort he puts in is phenomenal, I can’t praise him enough.
“At this time last year we were playing on a sand pit and right now the park is superb.”