MORTON'S Michael Tidser was yesterday announced as one of four nominees for the Cheque Centre PFA Scotland First Division Player of the Year.
The 23-year-old midfielder has been in fantastic form this season, having played an integral role in the Cappielow club's title challenge with a string of impressive displays.
Tidser augmented his polished performances as the team's playmaker by adding an improved attacking dimension to his game, scoring 13 goals and laying on 17 assists in all competitions.
Those sterling displays caught the eye of his peers this term and saw him shortlisted alongside Partick Thistle's Chris Erskine, Livingston's Stefan Scougall and Lyle Taylor of Falkirk.
In an exclusive interview, Tidser sat down with the Tele and told of his pride at being nominated for the prestigious award by his fellow professionals.
He said: "There are four of us up for the award: Erskine, Taylor, Scougall, and myself - and it's a great achievement to be alongside these guys and in the top four. I'm really proud. I'd say it's the proudest moment of my career so far, and to maybe go one better and win it would be unbelievable.
"It would cap off what was a good season besides the disappointment of losing out on the league title. That was a really sore one to take.
"If I could swap it and win the league instead I would.
"But that's done now, so there's no point dwelling on the past, we have to try and move on.
"If I weigh up the season I think I have had a decent year with the goals and assists I've added to my game.
"But it's other players who vote for you, so it's a tricky one because you don't know what their perception of you is, and you can't vote for your own team-mates either.
"So it's a nice feeling to know that your fellow peers rate you as a player, and I must admit I was delighted when I was told.
"As soon as I found out I spoke to my brothers and phoned my mum and dad and told them, and they were all delighted for me.
"You take knocks as a footballer and to be up for an award is the fruit of all the days of hard work, the extra you do through the summer, the sacrifices you make of not going out with your pals.
"But it's not just about me as an individual. A lot of credit has to go to my team-mates because it's a team game, and the manager and Nally [Mark McNally] for the faith they've shown in me." The winner will be announced at the PFA Scotland annual awards dinner at the Hilton Glasgow on Sunday 5 May.
Tidser says he has no idea which of the nominees will pick up the award and insists he isn't counting his chickens with regard to his own chances.
However, the midfielder admits he is already thinking ahead to what might happen if he did win - because he is anxious about the possibility of having to go on stage and make an acceptance speech.
He added: "I don't think there's a clear favourite. If you look at Taylor he's scored a lot of goals, and defenders who've played against him might think he's given them a torrid time.
"Other people might think Erskine has been brilliant against them, the same with Scougall. It's really hard to judge it. You just never know what other players think." Tidser laughed: "Whoever does win it has to go up and speak, and in front of the whole of Scotland I suppose. The thought of it makes me feel sick - and the awards dinner is still two weeks away.
"I can go out and play football in front of thousands of people and feel confident, but when it comes to speaking in front of lots of people it's different. I'm not a fan of being the centre of attention.
"I hate stuff like that. It's my worst fear ever. But people have said to me not to be so stupid. You go up and Peter Martin asks you some questions, so it's not as if you have to read off a bit of paper.
"I think it's lighthearted and he has a wee joke at your expense - but if I've got a couple of beers down me I'm sure I'll be fine!"