Date: 13th April 2007 at 12:32pm
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Jimmy Calderwood is the best man to judge Russell Anderson and he believes his captain is well worth the Players Player of the year award this year which will be contested between Russ and the Celtic trio of Shunsuke Nakamura, Artur Boruc and Lee Naylor.

Jimmy has worked will Russell everyday for the last three years and puts him amongst the best he has ever coached and the award would be just reward for being one of the main reasons Aberdeen are still in there challenging for Europe.

Jimmy said: ‘Russell just loves defending and sets his standards so high and he very seldom turns in an average performance.

‘In the three years I have been at Aberdeen, we have probably played 120 games and you could count how many bad games he has had on one hand.

‘We lost four goals last week against Dundee United, which was very unusual. If you look at our overall defensive record, we haven’t lost too many goals – and a lot of that is down to Russell. He is very consistent.’

‘It is great for the lad. Especially as the award is chosen by his fellow pros. That makes it very special and shows the other pros have the same high regard for him as we do. It also says a lot for him, as he is the only player outside the champions to get nominated.

‘He just loves defending and I have been lucky enough to work with some of the very best defenders – like Jaap Stam and Sammy Hyypia. Russell is up there with the consistency levels these guys show. I have been here three years and in that time he has played very few bad games. We have played over 120 games and I don’t think we have conceded 100 goals.

‘For me he is the best is Scotland. It is strange he is not linked with other clubs, although it is good for us and I hope it stays that way!’

The last Don to win the award has actually pre-empted Calderwood`s fears and thinks that English Premiership predators will soon be after Anderson`s signature as Aberdeen gain more press and exposure after their higher profile season.

Jim Bett was voted by his peers as the player of the year in 1990 after he was instrumental in helping the Dons win the Scottish and League cups double and will be aware of the fact that the winner does get a bit more interest from down south.

It is a fact that Paul McStay in 1998 was the last player to finish his career at his club after winning the award, testament to the high regard and faith Premiership clubs put on the award and Bett reckons Russell, with only one year left on his contract, will be following suit.

Hamilton born Bett said: ‘It is great for Russell to be nominated, especially because it is the award the other players vote for. It will lift his confidence and shows people he plays against respect him.

‘Russell has had a great season and is one of the main reasons Aberdeen are sitting third in the league table.

‘But you would think people down south will maybe start taking notice of him a little bit more after this nomination.

‘I have no doubt English clubs have been looking at him already because he only has a year of his deal left. If any of them made a move, Russell would have a big decision to make.’

It is in the Premiership that Bett would like to see Russell move to, if he does go, as he obviously wouldn`t be up against the Dons four times a season but would also help his Scotland cap chances by playing against some of the world`s best talents.

He said: ‘If Russell wants to see if he can prove himself against better players, the only way for him to do it would be to move to England if he got the chance.

‘I don’t think it would do him any good to sign for anyone else in Scotland, including the Old Firm, as he would still be up against the same players.

‘He has said already he is happy in Aberdeen, so it would present him with a dilemma if an approach was made.

‘People across the border will have taken notice of Aberdeen this season and when they delve a little deeper and look at individual players, Russell will be a standout.’