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Tuesday 27th September 2016

SPFL Team of the Week

Shaughan McGuigan selects his SPFL Team of the Week, with Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney the star man for his classy performance against Kilmarnock.

Shaughan McGuigan selects his SPFL Team of the Week, with Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney the star man for his classy performance against Kilmarnock.

Goalkeeper – Scott Fox (Ross County)
Ross County gleaned their third clean sheet in just five outings with a 0-0 draw against Hearts at Tynecastle and, while the defenders in front of him performed stoutly for the majority of the 90 minutes, much of the credit must go to County custodian Scott Fox. The goalkeeper proved a final, insurmountable obstacle to Tony Watt and Connor Sammon in particular on several occasions as the Jam Tarts slipped to third in the table, after drawing a blank for the second successive weekend. This was the Staggies’ third straight draw, with the point just enough to keep Jim McIntyre’s side in the top six on goal difference.

Right-back – Brad Mckay (Inverness Caledonian Thistle)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle made it four games without loss at the expense of Dundee as Richie Foran’s men posted a comfortable 3-1 win. They were cruising for much of their latest victory, going two up after little more than quarter of an hour, and they extended that to three early in the second period, with two assists from summer signing Brad Mckay. The marauding right-back supplied the cross for Lonsana Doumbouya to get the ball rolling, and the same player teed up Liam Polworth for the decisive third. After spending much of last season on loan to Dunfermline in the third tier, the former Hearts and St Johnstone man appears to be enjoying a new lease of life in the Highlands.

Left-back – Kieran Tierney (Celtic)
It says much for Kieran Tierney’s performance on Saturday, that in a match where Celtic scored half-a-dozen times, their man of the match was arguably their left-back. While there was little he could do about Souleymane Coulibaly’s outrageous long-range strike, his willingness and ability to get up and down the left flank for the entire game was a key reason behind Celtic’s wide margin of victory. As he did in the Betfred Cup win over Alloa, Tierney spent almost as much time in the opposition half as he did his own, with his regular forays forward providing an excellent attacking outlet as Celtic eventually cantered to victory.

Centre-half – David McCracken (Falkirk)
Peter Houston’s Bairns made it four straight Championship victories, climbing into third place in the process, with a 2-0 win over Ayr United. However, they were made to work for it, with the Honest Men impressing for large swathes of the match without being able to capitalise during their spells of dominance. That was largely down to redoubtable performances from both Luca Gasparotto and, in particular, David McCracken at the heart of the back four, with that partnership one of the main reasons Falkirk have now kept three clean sheets in their last four league outings. 

Centre-half – Stuart Malcolm (Forfar Athletic)
It’s not just sky blue jerseys Forfar Athletic have in common with Manchester City. Their 1-0 win over Clyde in League 2’s top-of-the-table clash, extended their winning sequence to seven league games, meaning it’s just the Loons and Manchester City with 100% records across the eight divisions in Scotland and England. Barry Ferguson felt his side deserved something from the Broadwood clash, and it was difficult to argue, but with the Forfar defence in fine form, marshalled superbly by veteran Stuart Malcolm, the Bully Wee were unable to cause Forfar keeper Grant Adam too much trouble.

Right-midfield – Danny Swanson (St Johnstone)
With Hearts dropping points to Ross County on Saturday, St Johnstone had the opportunity to lay down a marker and go second with victory over Hamilton at the SuperSeal Stadium the next day. They failed to grasp the chance with both hands, however, coming from a goal down to eventually draw 1-1, a result which sees them in fourth place. Greg Docherty had handed Martin Canning’s side the lead but a late riposte from Liam Craig ensured each side took a point. Defeat would have been harsh on the Perth side, who carved out umpteen good chances, the majority of which were created by Danny Swanson, who continued his fine start to the campaign with another exemplary performance.

Central midfield – Tony Andreu (Dundee United)
After their perhaps surprise elimination from the Betfred Cup to Morton last week, Dundee United gained an element of revenge over the Greenock outfit on Saturday, with a 2-1 win. Both goals came from attack-minded midfielder Tony Andreu, who is living up to his billing as one of the stand-out signings of the summer. The Frenchman was known for his goalscoring prowess with previous clubs Livingston and Hamilton Accies and the Norwich loanee bagged his fifth goal in just four appearances since his move back across the border. With Dundee United short in numbers in the forward areas, Andreu’s goals will be vital if Ray McKinnon’s men are to challenge this season.

Central midfield – Tom Rogic (Celtic)
The Australian internationalist put the finishing flourishes to an impressive win against Kilmarnock, knocking the ball past Jamie MacDonald for Celtic’s final goal in their 6-1 victory. However, Rogic was instrumental in much of what had gone before, with the 23-year-old also providing an assist for James Forrest’s goal at the start of the second period, a strike which thwarted any hopes of a Killie fightback. The win was Celtic’s fifth in six league matches, and they continue to lead the way, sitting four points clear of second-placed Aberdeen with a game in hand. 

Left midfield – Chris Erskine (Partick Thistle)
Partick Thistle failed to get the win they needed to lift themselves off the bottom but their 1-1 draw with Motherwell did move them a point closer to Kilmarnock and Dundee, with just three points now separating five sides at the foot of the Premiership. Thistle’s Chris Erskine was a stand-out in midfield and he nudged the home side in front after a mistake from Steven Hammell. Alan Archibald’s charges missed an abundance of chances to make the points safe and it was only when Erskine was forced off through injury with 20 minutes remaining that Motherwell were able to exert themselves in the game. Scott McDonald’s goal means Well are now four games unbeaten and they remain in the top half of the table.

Striker – Jamie Insall (East Fife)
With Livingston and Alloa Athletic both sprinting impressively from the League 1 blocks this term, most observers felt that the destination of the title would involve a straight scrap between the pair, with Brechin also impressing. However, East Fife’s dominant 3-1 win over the Livi Lions on Saturday, means there’s now just a point separating the three sides at the top, while East Fife reside in the final play-off spot in fourth. Jamie Insall’s second brace in three games was the difference and the on-loan Hibernian striker is proving just as effective in his second loan spell in Methil, with the 24-year-old managing eight goals last season as East Fife impressively lifted the League 2 title.

Striker – Shane Sutherland (Elgin City)
Elgin City have been regarded in recent seasons as a tough nut to crack at home but something of a softer touch on their travels. However, that seems to have altered this term, with Saturday’s 4-0 win over Stirling Albion their third away win in four. Elgin moved up to third in the table with the win and how it wasn’t a bigger margin was something of a mystery, such was the dominance of Jim Weir’s men. Shane Sutherland plundered a brace with two excellent finishes, taking his tally for the season to six, as he continues to impress after his summer return from Peterhead.