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Tuesday 31st May 2011

IRN-BRU SFL End of Season Awards Dinner 2010/11

Full list of IRN-BRU Phenomenal Award Winners


The Nominations were:-

Josh Falkingham - Arbroath

Not many players have made the journey from Leeds United to Arbroath however, 20-year-old midfielder Josh Falkingham has.  Josh played in 35 of the games that saw the Gayfield men lift the Third Division title and he scored nine including one on the day the title was won against Montrose.

Leighton McIntosh – Dundee

Dundee striker Leighton burst on to the scene in the latter stages of season 2010/11 and scored four times to help the Dark Blues ease away from issues at the foot of the First Division table. Leighton was called up for Scotland Under-19 squad however, pulled out because of an injury but winning the Phenomenal Young Player of the Month award for April fair cheered him up.

Craig Forsyth-  Dundee

Midfielder Craig is one of the hottest properties in the Scottish game just now after scoring eight times during the season. Craig has already scored the winning goal in an ALBA Challenge Cup Final in his career and he scored seven of his goals in 2011. Whenever he scored, Dundee did not get beat.

Arbroath Treasurer Alan Ripley collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Young Player of the Season award on behalf of Josh FalkinghamWINNER:  JOSH FALKINGHAM

Gayfield Manager Paul Sheerin said: “Josh had an excellent season for us after taking a wee bit of time to adjust to part-time football. Once he had made that adjustment, he never looked back and he was a real asset to us in the Third Division.”


The Nominations were all from Arbroath!

Steven Doris

One half of the strike force that helped Arbroath pick up the Third Division title.  Steven scored 16 goals during the season including a hat-trick against Angus rivals Montrose.

Gavin Swankie
The other half of the Arbroath strike force and outscored his partner by grabbing 23 goals. Gavin also grabbed hat-tricks against Stranraer and East Stirlingshire.

Josh Falkingham - nominee for Young Player of the Season

Kieran McAnespie

Two years ago, 31-year-old Kieran was playing for Milngavie Wanderers as well as Bellshill Juniors and when you consider he was once at the likes of Heart of Midlothian and Fulham, it has been a bit of a see-saw career. This season saw Kieran play in 27 games for Arbroath, predominately at left back, where he chipped in with two goals.

Arbroath chairman John Christison collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Player of the Season award for Division 3 on behalf of Gavin SwankieWINNER:  GAVIN SWANKIE

Arbroath boss Paul Sheerin said: “I was lucky to have known Gavin during my time as a player at St. Johnstone and I am sure that helped bring him to the club. He was incredible for us with the amount of goals that he scored.

“I am really keen to keep Gavin at the club for next season.”


The Nominations were:-

Paul Sheerin -  Arbroath

First season in management and Player/Manager Paul Sheerin guided Arbroath to their first ever piece of silverware. Paul picked himself to play in 33 games during the season and also won his place in Arbroath hearts for scoring twice in games against Montrose.

Paul Martin - Albion Rovers

Paul led Albion Rovers to their first promotion in 22 years by building a fantastic spirit amongst his squad. Paul guided the Coatbridge side to second in the table before defeating Queen’s Park and Annan Athletic in the Play-Offs.


Arbroath's Paul Sheerin collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Manager of the Season award for Division 3A busy night for Paul Sheerin was topped off when he picked up the Third Division Manager of the Year Award and the modest Player/ Manager had been thinking that the Award may have been going elsewhere.

The title winning boss said: “It is nice to be picked as the Manager of the Year, especially when you consider the job Paul Martin has done at Albion Rovers and Harry Cairney carried out at Annan.

“I am aware that our budget was greater than Albion Rovers and for them to chase us so hard and also gain promotion was a great achievement but I am really pleased to be chosen.”

Assistant Manager Stewart Petrie earned praise with Sheerin saying: “Stewart joined me not long after I went to Arbroath and basically every Saturday he comes in and does my job. He has been an excellent help to me.”

The Second Division beckons with Sheerin commenting: “We are really looking forward to continuing our work in the higher division and are working on our plans already. We are getting there slowly and surely in terms of getting our current players signed up and we are having a look at what players are available as well.

“There are a lot of guys available so we will take our time to bring in players for Second Division football.  I have re-signed, in fact, I was the first signing of the new season.”

Sheerin added: “It was a great night for Arbroath with Josh Falkingham picking up the Young Player of the Season Award and Gavin Swankie winning top goalscorer and best player in the division.

“There has been a real buzz about the town since the Montrose game and people are getting involved with the club that have not done so before or have come back to us. All in all, not too bad a first year in management.”

Arbroath Chairman John Christison was a proud man as he said: “It has been a brilliant night for Arbroath Football Club and we must have created a record by having all the nominees for the Third Division Player of the Year. Maybe that won’t happen again for 133 years!

“The town has been amazing since we won the League and it is great to have been part of it. Sometimes you are so close to things that you do not see what has been achieved but we have certainly seen this one.”

Christison added: “The goodwill we have felt from Arbroath and around the world has been great and it is amazing that we have touched so many people’s lives positively.”

Things had looked different at the gala dinner 12 months ago as Sheerin had just been appointed to an Arbroath side that had just been relegated with the Gayfield Chairman saying: “On the day of the Awards Dinner last season, we appointed Paul and had only two signed players.  We were not in despair but we wondered where we were going because there was just so much work to be done.

“We had a poor first quarter and then things just clicked with Paul and Stewart doing an unbelievable job and after 133 years, we have finally won something. The local joiner is building us a trophy cabinet as we have never had the need for one before.”


The Nominations were:-

Iain Russell -  Livingston

A fantastic season for Iain Russell with April being a specially incredible time as he picked up a Second Division Championship winners’ medal, a Player of the Month Award, the honour of becoming Livingston’s record holder for goals scored in a season as well as becoming a Dad for the first time.

Mark Roberts – Ayr United

Mark strutted his stuff to great effect in a Scottish Cup tie against Hibernian that went out live on Sky Sports when Roberts twisted and turned the Edinburgh defence three ways before scoring the game’s only goal.  He also scored over 20 times in the League including a hat-trick of penalties in one game against East Fife.

Rory McAllister – Brechin City

For the second season running, Rory proved to be a handful for defences in the Second Division and he also proved to be a handful for Dundee and St. Johnstone in cup competitions. It would be fair to say that there is a bit of interest in Rory.


Brechin chairman Martin Smith collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Player of the Season award for Division 2 on behalf of Rory McAllisterBrechin City Vice-Chairman Martin Smith picked up the Phenomenal Second Division Player of the Season trophy on behalf of the club’s number nine and he was full of praise for the frontman.

Smith said: “Rory has been sensational for Brechin City over the last two years. Scoring 29 goals last season and 29 goals this season says it all.

“Brechin City would not have enjoyed two good cup runs and a Play-Off campaign had it not been for Rory McAllister.”

The Glebe Park club are keen to keep hold of the striker with Smith saying: “We are trying very hard to keep hold of him. Rory is an apprentice plumber with a year left to go on his apprenticeship and we are hoping that we can get him to stay for another season and finish off his apprenticeship.

“We are still negotiating but we know that there is no doubt that Rory can play at a higher level.”

McAllister’s award helped brighten the mood of the club after the Play-Off defeat to Ayr United last weekend with Smith adding: “Last Sunday was very disappointing especially as we were 12 minutes away from the First Division but I have to say that the better team won.”


The Nominations were:-

Gary Bollan – Livingston
Gary, who was last season’s Third Division Manager of the Year, has led Livingston to successive Championships in his first two years as a Manager. This season it was achieved without losing a game at home and enjoying a 14 game unbeaten run to the end of the season.

Dick Campbell, Forfar Athletic
Dick showed his managerial prowess as he guided his Loons, in their first season following their promotion via the Play-Offs, to third place in the table and Forfar just missed out on joining Livingston on the same journey from the Third Division to the First when they lost in the Play-Off Semi-Finals. This was done despite a 66 day break between games due to the weather and Dick’s own battle against illness.

WINNER:  GARY BOLLANLivingston director Robert Wilson collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Manager of the Season award for Division 2 on behalf of Gary Bollan

Livingston Director Robert Wilson collected the Award on behalf and he praised the work Bollan has done by lifting the club from the Third to First Division in successive seasons.

Wilson said: “Gary is a massive part of the success we have had. He is a tremendous young Manager that came in two years ago in difficult circumstances and we cannot ask for any more than what he has delivered.

“He is a strong personality, organises the team well and gets them playing good football. He believes in using young players which is great as that is the way forward for us.”

There would appear to be no rest for the West Lothian boss with Wilson adding: “He may well be on holiday just now but knowing Gary, he will be working on something for the new season.”


The Nominations were:-

Gary Harkins, Dundee
Dundee captain Gary was an inspiration on the field during difficult times at the club. The midfielder scored crucial and usually spectacular goals for the Dark Blues, including one against his home town club of Morton that helped them end the season in sixth place

John Baird, Raith Rovers
John is probably the hardest working striker in the First Division as he never gave defences a second to breathe during Raith’s fine season.  He scored 13 times including an opening day League hat-trick against Partick Thistle.

Mark Campbell, Raith Rovers
Big centre back who has battled back from injuries sustained in a car crash to feature in over 20 games this season. Scored crucial goals against Fife rivals Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline Athletic as well as picking up an IRN-BRU Phenomenal Player of the Month Award.

Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Player of the Season award for Division 1 on behalf of John BairdKirkcaldy Manager John McGlynn picked up the Phenomenal 1st Division Player of the Season for his striker Baird and he said: “John has had a great season, a phenomenal one to use the sponsor’s word. His goals tally was 13 and that is what you want your strikers to do, to score goals, but John adds more.

“His enthusiasm for the game is great and his work rate is incredible and he has been a joy to work with. I am sure his team-mates would say he is a joy to play with.”

Baird’s opponents must rate him as well with McGlynn adding: “John also picked up the PFA Scotland Award and for fellow professionals as well as the voting panel from IRN-BRU choosing him, it emphasises what a good season he has had. John played his part in what was Raith Rovers’ best League season for many, many years.”


The Nominations were:-

John McGlynn, Raith Rovers
Raith Rovers finished the season five places higher than the previous season and earned 18 points more and that confirms the progress made under John McGlynn. They also gave Hamilton Academical a bloody nose in The Co-operative Insurance Cup and played plenty of exciting football with Gregory Tade and John Baird up front.

Barry Smith, Dundee
Barry was thrown in at the deep end at Dundee and came out as an experienced swimmer as he guided the club through an extremely difficult period.  It took Barry nearly six months to taste defeat as his side went on a 23 game unbeaten run, which is not a bad way to launch a managerial career.

Jim McIntyre, Dunfermline Athletic
Three years of steady progress under Jim McIntyre’s stewardship at Dunfermline was rewarded with the IRN-BRU First Division Championship this season. The Pars won the game of the season to defeat Raith Rovers 2-1 at a packed East End Park in late April and then won the title the following week at Morton, just across the water from Jim’s beloved Dumbarton.

Dunfermline were never out of the top three all season and were in one of the top two places from week four of the season and they won the title in style scoring 66 goals.

WINNER:  JIM McINTYREDunfermline Chief Executive Bill Hodgins collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Manager of the Season award for Division 1 on behalf of Jim McIntyre
East End Park Director Bill Hodgins was delighted to accept the Phenomenal 1st Division Manager of the Season Award on behalf of Jim McIntyre and he said: “It is a tremendous achievement for Jim to be chosen for this Award. He has worked really hard with the players during his time as a Manager and everyone at the club will be delighted for him.

“He made fantastic signings that helped push us over the line and we are delighted to have him as our Manager. Jim started with us as a player and we gave him the opportunity to become our Manager and he has repaid us.

"We helped him get through his coaching qualifications and we always believed that he would deliver SPL football for us which he has done and that is fantastic.”

Hodgins added: “Jim is an extremely focused individual, he is his own guy and the players perform for him because he motivates them well. He is fair with them and the players respect that. He is also very good at counselling players that are perhaps not playing at their best.

“The only downside to our success is that we will not be at the IRN-BRU End of Season Awards Dinner next season.”


The nominations were:-

Barry Smith, Dundee
(see above)

Paul Sheerin, Arbroath
(see Third Division)

Jim McIntyre, Dunfermline Athletic
(see above)

Dundee boss Barry Smith was recognised for his role in Dundee’s recovery from a points penalty by being awarded the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Achievement of the Season Award.

Dundee boss Barry Smith collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Achievement of the Season awardSmith was appointed Manager at Dens Park last October and he guided the Dark Blues to safety on the back of a long unbeaten run.

After a roller-coaster period, Smith is now looking for things to settle down saying: “It has been an exhausting time but it has been extremely enjoyable. The great run we went on made it enjoyable and I remain delighted that we have stayed in this division but we are looking for a bit of stability now.

“If we can have a stabilised period at the club next season, we can push on, I am sure of that.”

Smith added: “Whilst it is great to receive this award personally, I am really delighted for everyone connected with Dundee. It has been a team effort and credit to everyone involved.

“I have a great set of boys in the dressing room that helped build a great spirit at the club. The players never settled for second best and they gave their all for the club and that is what took us on that great unbeaten run.”


The Nominations were:-

Raith Rovers
Raith Rovers were never out of the top two in the IRN-BRU First Division all season. They got off to a flying start against Partick Thistle with a 4-0 win and they stayed in the title race until the second last week of the season.

A year after battling at the other end of the table, John McGlynn’s men showed that they were more than capable of competing at the top with their hard working ethos being admired near and far. Whilst the title went to Dunfermline Athletic, Raith fans will have been delighted with their two wins over the Pars during the season.

It was an amazing season at Dundee during which the Dark Blues showed tremendous resilience to secure their First Division status.  A new club record of 23 games undefeated was achieved under the management of Barry Smith and the club also unearthed a potential new star in Leighton McIntosh.

Arbroath won the first trophy in their history ending a 133 year wait. The success is all the more noteworthy as it was earned with a new management team in place and indeed, Paul Sheerin and Stewart Petrie had never spoken to each other this time last year.

Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn was presented with the Team of the Season Award to add to the PFA Manager of the Year honour he won earlier this month.

Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn (right) and assistant Paul Smith collect the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Team of the Season awardUnlike his managerial award, the IRN-BRU trophy will be going on display at Stark’s Park with McGlynn saying: “The Directors, staff and players have all been great at Raith Rovers this season and I see this award as a compliment to them.

"We got some positive momentum behind us and had a good season and went very, very close to being promoted but just could not get over the finishing line.

“This will go to Kirkcaldy as recognition for everyone at the football club and it was an honour to pick it up.”

Assistant Manager Paul Smith added: “It was very disappointing to lose out to Dunfermline but looking back, it was a fantastic season. The Manager sets the tone at our club with his hard work and everyone takes it from there.

“We work hard as a team and that has been reflected in this award. We are looking to rebuild over the summer and are looking forward to the challenge of another successful season in the one that is coming up.”


Willie McLaren - QUEEN OF THE SOUTH v Ross County (28th August, 2010)

Mark Ramsay - Morton v COWDENBEATH (11th September, 2010)

Jamie Bain - AIRDRIE UNITED v Stenhousemuir (30th October 2010)

Stuart Anderson - PETERHEAD v East Fife (13th November, 2010)

Jack Compton - Raith Rovers v FALKIRK (29th January, 2011)

Liam Fox - Ayr United v LIVINGSTON (12th February, 2011)

Sean Higgins - DUNDEE v Queen of the South (12th March, 2011)

Ian Watt - QUEEN’S PARK v Albion Rovers (23rd April, 2011)

The Goal of the Season was WILLIE McLAREN
Winger Willie McLaren was able to celebrate winning the IRN-BRU SFL Goal of the Season Award at Thursday night’s Gala Dinner as his future was settled after he agreed a one year deal at Hamilton Academical.

Queen of the South's Willie McLaren collects the Irn-Bru Phenomenal Goal of the Season award for his goal against Ross County on 28/08/10McLaren wore Queen of the South colours when he scored the best goal in the three IRN-BRU SFL divisions last season when he dribbled past three Ross County men and chipped over Michael McGovern with the former Airdrie United, St. Johnstone and Clyde player saying: “I knew from 40 yards out that I was going to chip the goalkeeper. I do things like that in training all the time but to do it in a game was extra special.”

McLaren added: “What makes it all the better is that goalkeepers hate when you chip them like that.”

The 26-year-old added: “It feels great to be chosen and it adds on to some great achievements at Queen of the South last season. To come fourth with the small squad of players we had was really good.

“I would like to dedicate this award to our management team last season of Kenny Brannigan and Neil Scally. I have known Kenny since my Airdrie days and he has always been great with me. Hopefully, he will get a job back in football soon.”

McLaren was left feeling a bit embarrassed when his goal was shown on a massive screen at The Old Fruitmarket as he explained: “There were a lot of people watching it and I was sitting there watching them watching me. It is the best goal of my career so far but I have a few left in me yet.”


MARK ROBERTS (Ayr United), IAIN RUSSELL (Livingston) and GAVIN SWANKIE (Arbroath)
There was a three way tie for the Ginger Boot Award so the sponsor arranged for three boots to be handed out to Messers Roberts, Russell and Swankie to enhance their already successful seasons further.

Ginger Boot Award WinnersRussell said: “It has been a great season from start to finish. We started well and pushed on from there and this is a great reward. It has been a brilliant season for me and whilst it is an old cliché, it is all about the team. They set up the chances for me to score.

“It has been an incredible couple of months for me which started with the birth of my son on the day we won the League which was not what had been planned or expected. The last couple of weeks of the season were a bit mad as I also got myself sent off against Ayr United.”

Russell is looking forward to the step up saying: “I spent three years in the First Division with Morton and enjoyed it but I never got enough games so I am looking forward to changing that with Livingston.”

It had been a long day for Roberts as he explained: “I was working up at Fort William today but I was delighted to drive down to Glasgow to pick up my Ginger Boot. It will be an early start for me on Friday so I am on my best behaviour tonight.

“This tops off a great week for the club and me. Last Sunday was a great day when we secured promotion by winning at Brechin and this season overall has been great with me with 27 goals in total.

“It will be tough for us in the First Division as a part-time side but we will give it a real go. I would gladly settle for the same amount of goals next season.”


Falkirk are £10,000 better off after coming out as winners of the IRN-BRU ‘Tops for Youth Teams’ campaign that saw the 30 SFL clubs collect plastic tops in return for a share of a £70,000 pot put up by the sponsor for youth development.

Falkirk Managing Director George Craig (left) and Technical Director Alex Smith collects the Irn-Bru Tops for Youth Teams 1st Place chequeThe Bairns collected a staggering 87,115 lids beating second placed Stenhousemuir, who picked up £7,000 for their 75,668 plastic tops with Morton in third spot with a total of 67,226.

Falkirk Managing Director, George Craig, said: “In a time when funding is crucial to football, it is great to receive this from the sponsor. We put a lot of work into our youth development and this is a great reward for all the players and staff that worked hard in collecting the bottle tops.

“We finished last season with 11 of the players out of our squad of 16 being graduates from our Youth Academy and this cheque will help us towards having a starting eleven made up of Academy players.”

Assistant Manager Alex Smith, who has a distinguished record of launching the careers of young players, added: “We have an excellent crop of young players coming through and they are as good as any players I have worked with before. We have over 80 at our training nights and every single one of them works hard and shows great ambition. It is our job to build on that and we want to get as many as possible in our first team.”

The duo will be supporting Huddersfield Town this weekend with Craig adding: “One of the graduates of our Academy, Scott Arfield, will be playing for the Terriers this weekend in a Football League Play-off Final and I would imagine like us, every Falkirk fan will be supporting them and hoping that Scott does well."




Prize Fund










Greenock Morton




Queen's Park




Airdrie United




Partick Thistle








Stirling Albion








East Fife




Ayr United












Alloa Athletic








Elgin City




Annan Athletic








Queen of the South




Raith Rovers




East Stirlingshire




Albion Rovers




Berwick Rangers








Brechin City




Dunfermline Athletic








Forfar Athletic








Ross County