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Tuesday 7th May 2019

Ayr United Raith Rovers Ladbrokes Championship

Shankland, Nisbet and Henderson win first SPFL Tartan Balls

Ayr United’s Lawrence Shankland, Raith Rovers’ Kevin Nisbet and Edinburgh City’s Blair Henderson are the first recipients of the inaugural SPFL Tartan Ball awards for their goal scoring achievements in the 2018/19 season.

The special edition Tartan Ball awards, created in partnership with SPFL Official Match Ball supplier Mitre, were presented to the top scorers in the Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2 following the conclusion of their league fixtures last weekend.

In an astonishing season for goal scorers in the SPFL, which has seen 2006 goals scored so far, the final league tallies were as below:

Ladbrokes Championship – Lawrence Shankland, Ayr United:  24 goals

Ladbrokes League 1 – Kevin Nisbet, Raith Rovers:  30 goals

Ladbrokes League 2 – Blair Henderson, Edinburgh City:  30 goals

The goalscoring exploits of Nisbet and Henderson marks only the third time since the SPFL’s inception in 2013 that players across the divisions have reached 30 goals for a league campaign - the players becoming the third and fourth men to reach the milestone after Leigh Griffiths in season 2015/16 and Rory McAllister in 2013/14.

It’s now a three-horse race for the award in the Ladbrokes Premiership. Rangers’ Alfredo Morleos currently leads the way on 17 league goals, followed closely by Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove on 16 and Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard on 15. All three teams will play their final match on Sunday May 19.

Once the Ladbrokes Premiership league season comes to an end, the destination of the inaugural Tartan Boot Award for the overall top scorer in the SPFL for season 2018/19 will be confirmed.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said: “This season has seen incredible achievements in goal scoring leading to an exciting and memorable year across all four Ladbrokes SPFL divisions.  These awards have been introduced to recognise and celebrate these exceptional individual performances.

“Congratulations to Lawrence, Kevin and Blair for winning the very first Tartan Ball awards. I would also like to express my thanks to our Official Match Ball Supplier Mitre for their collaboration in devising the awards, in a season which has seen us extend our successful partnership until the end of season 2022/23.”

Ayr United’s Lawrence Shankland said: “It’s great to have won the Tartan Ball award for the Ladbrokes Championship, especially with so many top strikers playing in this league.

“I knew it was really close going into the last match and it was great to grab another goal against Alloa just to make sure!

“Individual awards are nice, but I’m completely focused on helping the team make that push for promotion to the Ladbrokes Premiership in the play-offs.”

Raith Rovers’ Kevin Nisbet said: “It’s a great honour to receive the reward as top goalscorer in SPFL League 1. I feel that getting regular game time this season has helped my development all-round as a player at the Rovers.

“I’m learning every day here under The Gaffer and Smudger, and I’d also like to accept this award on behalf of my teammates – I couldn’t have done this without them.”

Edinburgh City’s Blair Henderson said: “It’s a huge honour to win this award and I’m grateful to all my team-mates at Edinburgh City for their help – without them this achievement would not have been possible.

 “I’m really proud to have scored 30 goals in Ladbrokes League 2 and it’s nice to be in the mix for the Tartan Boot award at the end of the season too!

 “The team has done really well to earn a play-off spot and we hope to kick on now and make a final push for promotion.”