Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes feels his side have been better than last season despite the lack of silverware.
The Dons boss said there is a "tinge of disappointment" around the club after failing to get to a cup final or get closer to Celtic in the title race.
Aberdeen fell to both Dundee clubs in the cups and trail Celtic by eight points in the Premiership.
"We have lacked that cup final game this year, that big game," McInnes told BBC Sportsound.
McInnes brought the first trophy to the Granite City in 19 years when his side defeated Inverness Caledonian Thistle on penalties in the League Cup final last March.
That helped win the former St Johnstone and Bristol City the 2013/14 PFA manager of the year award and he has again been named among the nominees after his team reached a record points tally of 74 points and secured European football with four games to go.
McInnes remained tight lipped on who he had voted for but said it was one of his fellow nominees and that he "expected him to win".
"I think people need to be reminded that the players have given absolutely everything that they've got, week in week out," he said.
"You want your team to be an extension of yourself and I do believe that we're working hard and have upped our game at Aberdeen over the past couple of seasons.
"Hence why we've won a trophy, hence why we're sitting where we are in the league, hence why we're in with a chance of individual awards.
"You try and gauge improvement in different ways. I think we've had most clean sheets since 1983, I think we've had more goals scored than last season and 10 points better off, we've competed in Europe this year, the points and consistency we've shown - obviously we've lost to Celtic since October, but nobody else in the league.
"There's been circumstances in both cup competitions that on that day could have had better fortune, either with decisions or just in terms of how the game went.
"We have lacked that cup final game this year, that big game, that maybe the season has lacked for us."
Should Celtic win at home to Dundee on Friday night then anything less than than three points for the Dons away to Dundee United the following day would mean Celtic have clinched the league title.
However, McInnes hopes his team keep the race alive for one more week to set up a thriller at Pittodrie on 10 May when Celtic visit the North East.
"Potentially we've got a big game in a couple of weeks time, but to make that the game we want it to be we've got to win on Saturday against Dundee United," he added.