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Tuesday 25th August 2015

SPFL Team of the Week

Craig Fowler selects his latest SPFL Team of the Week in a 4-5-1 formation, with Peterhead striker Rory McAllister the star man.

Craig Fowler selects his latest SPFL Team of the Week in a 4-5-1 formation, with Peterhead striker Rory McAllister the star man.

Goalkeeper - Graeme Smith (Peterhead)
Arguably the biggest upset of the weekend occurred in Ladbrokes League 1, where Dunfermline took their 100% record in all competitions (they had won all five games by three or more) up to Peterhead and lost 2-1, with Leighton McIntosh netting an 89th-minute winner. However, the substitute would not have been in the position to be the hero if it had not been for an excellent display from Smith, who made three terrific saves at 1-1 with Dunfermline ramping up the pressure. Close-range denials of Michael Moffat and Faissal El Bakhtaoui were followed by an acrobatic tip over the bar of a Ryan Wallace curler that looked destined for the top corner.

Right-back - James Tavernier (Rangers)
It's now four goals in six games for the full-back (yes, full-back) and, while he's already netted a couple of crackers, there's no doubt his winner against Hibs was the pick of the bunch. Questions have been asked of keeper Mark Oxley but when the free-kick taker, from such an acute angle, can put the ball off the underside of the crossbar, it's almost impossible to save. Aside from the ridiculous goal, Tavernier continually supported down the flank and was a constant threat on the right-hand side.

Central defence - Ash Taylor (Aberdeen)
A year ago, if you had told Aberdeen fans they would miss Russell Anderson for almost the entirety of the 2014/15 campaign and that Mark Reynolds would be out of action for the first couple of months for the following season, phrases like 'title challenge' and '100 per cent record' could not have been any further from their mind. It's testament to the growth of Taylor that he has overcome a tough start to life at Pittodrie to become one of Scottish football's stand-out defenders. Against Dundee he was again excellent, dominating and helping his side record a clean sheet despite coming up against one of the league's most fearsome attacking units.

Central defence - Iain Davidson (Raith Rovers)
Raith have been suffering through an injury crisis at centre-back, with possible first-choice pairing Craig Barr and summer signing Kyle Benedictus still to prove their fitness this season. Bringing in former Dundee midfielder Davidson was therefore a strong piece of business from manager Ray McKinnon, since the veteran has experience of covering in the back four. Against Alloa he easily handled the physicality of Geoff Mitchell and formed a solid partnership with Lewis Toshney, helping his team to a 3-0 win.

Left-back - Luke Leahy (Falkirk)
Tavernier's goal was something special - and yet it still had nothing on the opening strike in Falkirk's 2-1 victory over Livingston on Saturday. Leahy, from a similar angle to that of the goal at Ibrox, unleashed an incredible half-volley which flew over the goalkeeper and crashed into the back of the goal via the side netting. Other than his stunning opener, the highly-rated full-back contributed in both attack and defence as the Bairns continued their undefeated start to the league season.

Right midfield - Jonathan Franks (Ross County)
Jim McIntyre's Ross County get a large percentage of their goals from wide areas, so it would have pleased the manager immensely to see one of his summer signings replace the injured Raffaele De Vita and put in such an impressive performance. Franks, starting on the right, was direct in his running and unafraid to whip balls into the penalty area. He also helped himself to a goal, coolly slotting into the bottom corner following a stramash in the six-yard box during County's 4-0 destruction of Kilmarnock.

Central midfield - Colin Cameron (Berwick Rangers)
Following the 5-0 defeat at East Fife, the Berwick Rangers boss decided that age was just a number and laced up his boots once more, for his side's away trip to Stirling Albion. The 42-year-old (yes, you read that right) put in a terrier-like performance in front of the back four, snapping at the heels of opposing attackers, continually winning back possession and recycling it for his team, helping them to an impressive 3-1 win.

Central midfield - Jackson Irvine (Ross County)
Another player in this team who has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. Irvine returned to Rugby Park with Ross County and put in a man-of-the match performance in the centre of the park. The Australian dominated the midfield as County blew away their beleaguered hosts with four first-half goals. His form has been so impressive that Celtic might be wondering whether they made a mistake in releasing the midfielder this summer.

Central midfield - Morgaro Gomis (Hearts)
With his partner-in-crime Prince Buaben struggling a little for fitness, Gomis was tasked with being the more adventurous of the midfield pairing in Hearts' 3-0 win over Partick Thistle on Saturday. It was a role he exceeded in immensely as his hard work and dynamism helped Hearts continually push the tempo in attack, particularly in the second half as they pulled away from their visitors. His pass for Callum Paterson, which brought a rash challenge from Stuart Bannigan and the award of a penalty, was a particularly sublime piece of play.

Left midfield - Danny Denholm (Forfar Athletic)
For all the hype around Dunfermline, it's currently Dick Campbell's Forfar who sit top of Ladbrokes League 1 after three games. Even an early injury to Gavin Swankie against Stenhousemuir couldn't throw them off their stride, as Chris Templeman slotted into the attack and helped them build-up a 4-1 first-half lead. Bagging two of those goals was left-winger Denholm. First he reacted quickest inside the six-yard area to rifle home a loose ball following a deflection, then he produced a smart flicked finish after being found with a Templeman cut-back.

Centre forward - Rory McAllister (Peterhead)
This inclusion was based on an accumulation of two games. McAllister netted his side's first in their 2-1 victory over Dunfermline at the weekend, but it was his contribution to the midweek Petrofac Training Cup tie against Falkirk the previous midweek that had everyone talking. The striker netted all five (yes, FIVE) goals as the Ladbrokes League 1 side upset their Championship hosts with a 5-3 win. After a disappointing 2014/15 season by his own high standards, McAllister looks like he is on a mission this time around and has already passed his total of nine goals from last term after only six matches. This week's star man.

Special mentions this week to a few players who were close to making the team: Michael McGovern (Hamilton Accies), Saidy Janko (Celtic), Lucas Tagliapietra (Hamilton Accies), Jamie Reckord (Ross County), Scott Mercer (East Fife), Gary Naysmith (East Fife), Michael Gardyne (Ross County), Tom Rogic (Celtic), Sam Nicholson (Hearts), Osman Sow (Hearts), Liam Boyce (Ross County), Chris Templeman (Forfar Athletic).