Hibs' coronation last Sunday brought the curtains down on the 2008-09 Premier League. As in every campaign, the players took centre-stage as their performances shaped the destiny of their teams. Kevin Azzopardi takes on the thankless challenge of selecting the best XI.
Mario Muscat - Hibs
Mario Muscat was instrumental in Hibs' march to the title. His presence in goal instilled confidence in the team's young defenders.
The veteran Malta goalkeeper may be in the home stretch of his career but he remains one of the most dependable goalkeepers in the Premier League. Hibs' success may have been built on their prolific attack but Muscat played his part with a string of solid performances.
Alex Muscat - Sliema
Long regarded as a bright prospect, Alex Muscat has been Sliema Wanderers' shining light this season.
Fast and agile, Muscat has clearly matured as a player and, more importantly, seems to have overcome the nagging injuries that blighted his progress last season.
The 24-year-old has been used in a variety of positions for Sliema but looks most comfortable when playing on the right wing or as a flank defender. Muscat has also improved the defensive side of his game and this in turn helped him to break into the national team.
Jonathan Caruana - Hibs
Jonathan Caruana is another up-and-coming talent who has had an outstanding season. At 23, Caruana has yet to reach his peak but his strong performances in the heart of Hibs' defence show that the towering centre-half is on the right track.
Powerful in the air, Caruana is the epitome of the modern defender as he's not only good in the tackle but equally comfortable with the ball at his feet. His elegant runs from the back have evoked comparisons with John Buttigieg.
Luke Dimech - Valletta
Luke Dimech's initial performances for Valletta were met with some scepticism as the team struggled to live up to the hype but it didn't take him long to regain his best form.
Dimech established himself as a pillar in the Valletta defence thanks to his robust approach, athleticism and good tackling.
Adrian Pulis - Hibs
Adrian Pulis's career appeared to have stalled in the latter years of Robert Gatt's reign as Hibs coach but the lanky defender has found a new lease of life under Mark Miller.
For years, Pulis played at centre-half but Miller deemed that the former St Patrick player had what it takes to occupy the left-back position.
Capped a fine season with an outstanding goal in the 4-0 win over Birkirkara.
Rumen Galabov - Hibs
Rumen Galabov has been rightly dubbed Mr Versatile because he has played everywhere for Hibs this season. Galabov has turned out to be an excellent signing for Hibs, his composed performances showing why Mark Miller acted so quickly to secure his services.
One could easily say that Galabov has excelled in every position but he showed his best in central midfield where he formed an excellent partnership with Christian Callejas.
Clayton Failla - Hibs
Another Hibs player in the best XI of the season but Clayton Failla's choice was a straightforward one.
The speedy wing-back has been one of the most effective players in the Premier League and is even being tipped for a tilt at the MFA player of the year award.
Failla figured mostly at left-back in his first seasons with Hibs but Miller transformed him into one of the most powerful wingers in the top flight.
Failla's dynamic performances also earned him a call-up to the national squad.
Doding Priso - Valletta
Doding Priso took some time to settle after his close-season move from Msida to Valletta but the Cameroon forward began to find his touch once he had pepped up his physical condition.
Valletta's squad is replete with attacking players but Priso's pace and dribbling gave the Citizens' forward line an element of unpredictability. Finished as Valletta's leading scorer with 15 goals.
Andrew Cohen - Hibs
Andrew Cohen's season didn't get off to the best of starts as injury kept the Hibs livewire out of his team's initial matches. Slowly but surely, Cohen returned to full fitness and rediscovered his sparkle to play a key role in Hibs' title triumph.
At his best, Cohen is arguably the most dazzling player in the Premier League thanks to his exquisite technique and excellent vision.
Terrence Scerri - Hibs
The Premier League's top scorer with 26 goals, Terrence Scerri has established himself as a vital cog in Hibs' attacking machine. The powerful forward is finally doing justice to his reputation as this has been by far his best season since he became a regular for Hibs.
Forging an excellent understanding with Cohen, Scerri has used his physical strength and speed to terrorise opposing defences and score crucial goals.
His finishing is more clinical these days with Scerri now also recognised as a key player for the national side.
Daniel Mariano Bueno - Tarxien
Unlike many foreign players who find it hard to adapt to the peculiar demands of Maltese football in their first season, Daniel Mariano Bueno made an immediate impact for Tarxien Rainbows.
Bueno is skilful and deadly in front of goal, qualities that drew envious looks from some of the country's top guns whose foreign failed to make the desired impact.
Bueno's goals are the main reason why Tarxien will be playing in the Premier League next season as the Brazilian hit the back of the net 23 times to claim the runner-up spot in the scorers' list.
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