The IRN-BRU SFL Phenomenal Award winners have been named for the month of August. After much debate, a judging panel consisting of respresentatives from the Scottish media decided upon the winners.
The winners for August are:
- FIRST DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: ALLAN MOORE (MORTON)
- SECOND DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: PAUL SHEERIN (ARBROATH)
- THIRD DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: HARRY CAIRNEY (ANNAN ATHLETIC)
- PLAYER OF THE MONTH: DOUGIE IMRIE (HAMILTON ACADEMICAL)
- YOUNG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: CRAIG SIBBALD(FALKIRK)
- GINGER BOOT WINNER: CRAIG GUNN (ELGIN CITY)
IRN-BRU SFL First Division Phenomenal Manager of the Month – Allan Moore (Morton)
Morton’s effervescent Manager, Allan Moore, was rewarded for his side’s bright start to the season by being awarded the IRN-BRU SFL Phenomenal Manager of the Month for August and he immediately praised the Cappielow dressing room, that he was once told he was bad for, for the role that they have played in the Greenock club’s unbeaten start to the League season.
The former Stirling Albion boss singled out summer signing Paul Di Giacomo for galvanising the Morton players although there was a huge touch of irony as Moore explained: “It is great that we have Paul to get the players going in the dressing room here mind you, I was told I was bad news for doing the same thing in the same room when I was a player!”
Moore, who started his career at Dumbarton in 1983, pitched up at the Tail o’ the Bank 18 years later after stints at Heart of Midlothian, St. Johnstone, Dunfermline Athletic, Livingston, Airdrieonians and Partick Thistle but his stay at Morton was brief.
It had been a gloomy spell at Cappielow after Hugh Scott’s turbulent Chairmanship of the club and Moore’s efforts at lifting spirits was not well received as he explained: “I played for Morton not long after the current Chairman Douglas Rae took over. Peter Cormack was the Manager and the less said about that time, the better. He was a great footballer but in my view, a poor man-manager.
“The club was at a low point then and he was the first ever Manager that told me I was bad for a dressing room. I can pride myself that in every dressing room I have been in, I have been the life and soul of the place, so to get told I was bad for it did not stick well with me.”
Moore did not hang about long saying: “I said 'I am off' and I joined Queen of the South. We won the Second Division Championship and ironically, I was praised for lifting the dressing room when I went there. How Peter Cormack figured that one out, I still don’t know.”
Di Giacomo has stepped into Moore’s role as the 'noisemaker' at the club and he has Moore’s full blessing with the Manager saying: “Without a shadow of a doubt, Paul is the main man in our dressing room. Every morning you know when he has arrived as the noise level increases.
“He comes in, grabs a cup of tea and sits like a wee sweetie wife slaughtering people. The Physio gets it and the Kit Man gets it and he has been at Morton for 37 years. Paul tells everyone that I should be getting a new Kit Manager but I have to tell him that the Kit Man has seen off 20 Managers, so he is going nowhere.”
Once Di Giacomo starts, other players join in with Moore saying: “Marc Smyth can hold his own as well and then you get level headed boys like Stuart McCaffrey joining in, so it becomes a noisy place.”
Moore would not have it any other way saying: “Any team that is successful always has a good dressing room. This is something that my assistant Mark McNally and I looked to build when we came in. We re-introduced a lunch for the players after training, so that they were spending more time together and I spend a lot of time with them as well, getting in their faces and Mark takes them on at darts and things like that.”
Moore joked: “Mark took them all out for a meal and a night at the races recently but I am not going to tell you how much they lost.”
As well as the fun side of their football, Moore knows that the serious nature of promotion is being discussed by the club’s fans and he is not getting carried away saying: “We are getting good praise just now and supporters are getting excited but talk of winning the League is premature.
“I am not going to say we are going to win the League but I am not going to say we will not be up there either. We have a good team but it is way too early to say we are going to do this or do that.”
IRN-BRU SFL Third Division Phenomenal Manager of the Month – Harry Cairney (Annan Athletic)
Annan Athletic Manager, Harry Cairney, celebrated turning 50 last Thursday in the best possible manner by picking up the IRN-BRU SFL Phenomenal Third Division Manager of the Month Award for August. Cairney’s side had a perfect run of four League wins and a Ramsdens Cup success last month and that saw him able to mark his own personal half century in a memorable way, although a bit like the Galabank club’s achievements, Cairney would have preferred to keep things quiet.
Cairney joked: “I was hoping that my big ‘Five-O’ birthday was going to go unnoticed at the school I teach at, until one of the teachers there told everyone. Now that IRN-BRU and the SFL have done their homework, it will probably get even more attention. “
The Galabank boss added: “As a club, we still like that element of surprise and to fly in under people’s radar as challengers for the Third Division Championship. Most of the attention during the summer was focused on Alloa and Peterhead as they were investing quite heavily in their squads.
“That suits me as I do not feel confident about saying we will do this or do that until we have played all the teams in the Third Division.”
Annan’s wins came against both The Wasps, The Blue Toon, who they beat in the League and The Ramsdens Cup, Queen’s Park and Clyde and while Cairney is playing things down, his Black and Gold side are now seen as realistic challengers after wins over sides tipped for the title.
He said: “When we looked at the opening League fixtures, we knew it was a tough start and to come through it unbeaten is great. Queen’s Park have always been a bit of a bogey team to us and we came back to beat them after being two goals down so that was really satisfying. Each team has had spells against us when they were on top so it is far too early to say where we will end up.
“It is great that I have been recognised in this way but everyone in our squad has played their part. We have had to change the team about fairly often because of suspensions and injury and all the players have played their part.”
IRN-BRU SFL Phenomenal Player of the Month – Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical)
Hamilton Academical striker, Dougie Imrie, was surprised to be selected as the IRN-BRU SFL Player of the Month for August, as he has not scored any goals so far this season, and reckons that his team-mate, Mark McLaughlin, is playing better than him.
Imrie said: “These awards usually go to top goalscorers so I was a bit shocked to win it. I suppose I have had a few assists and have been brought down for five penalties so I must be doing something right.
“This is the first award I have ever won and hopefully, I can pick up some more but I thought Mark McLaughlin would be getting this one ahead of me. He has scored three times, which is not bad going for a defender, but then again, I did set the three of them up. He has not scored that many in his career so to get three in the first few weeks of the season is great going.”
The former Clyde and Inverness Caledonian Thistle player has not yet been tempted to break his goalscoring duck by having a go from 12 yards out as he explained: “I missed a penalty in pre-season and I missed one against Rangers in the SPL last season, so I have been quite happy to take a step back and let someone else have a go.”
Imrie has adapted well to life in the First Division following Hamilton’s relegation last season and his ability to set up goals was the reason behind the judging panel’s decision with the 28-year-old saying: “I have played in this division before with both Clyde and Inverness Caledonian Thistle and it is a hard division. We have started okay but are disappointed at drawing the last couple of games, especially the one against Livingston when we were down to nine men and looked to be holding out until they scored with the last kick of the ball.
“Our squad has changed a lot but that is the way of things at Hamilton and in the close season, we lost a fair bit of experience with Gary McDonald, Gavin Skelton, David Buchanan and David Elebert all moving on. We got a few new faces in and the Manager blended them in with the good young players we have here to create a good team. It is all about the team effort here.”
The youngsters are impressing Imrie who continued: “The young players will get a chance this season that they would not have got in the SPL. Too many youngsters in the SPL and you could get battered but we should be okay in the First Division as after all, that is where James McCarthy, James McArthur and Brain Easton all learned their trade and they have moved on to play internationally and in the English Premiership.”
IRN-BRU SFL Phenomenal Ginger Boot Winner – Craig Gunn (Elgin City)
Elgin City striker Craig Gunn visited Hampden last weekend and walked away with a prize that was the envy of the Scotland and Czech Republic players that fought out the 2-2 EURO 2012 Qualifier, a pair of IRN-BRU Ginger boots.
Gunn outscored the other strikers in the SFL by grabbing seven goals to win his first ever pair of the specially commissioned boots and was delighted saying: “Getting these presented at Hampden is the closest any Scotland or Czech player is likely to getting their hands on these boots. They are a great colour and I have yet to decide whether to wear them in games or training.”
It has been a good month for the 24-year-old who said: “I scored four times against Berwick in our first League game and then scored once against Queen’s Park before hitting two against East Stirling. It has been a good start to the season for me and a good start for Elgin.”
The Borough Briggs side sit in second place in the table and Gunn puts some of that success down to their opening day win over First Division Ross County in The Ramsdens Cup saying: “The win at Dingwall got us off to a flyer and that gave us increased confidence that we could do something in the Third Division this season. The Play-Offs are a definite aim but I am really after the League and who knows, if we keep on scoring goals and winning games, we could have a right good shot.”
Gunn almost had a goal taken off him when his first strike against Berwick struck off Shielfield defender Chris McLeod however, he was happy to put the record straight saying: “I was the last Elgin player to touch the ball and it was a good strike so it is my goal. The last time I scored four goals in the one game was when I was 12 so no-one is taking it off me.”