DCSIMG

Monday SPFL verdict: Top players, teams & managers

Caley striker Billy McKay scoops this week's Premiership player award. Picture: SNS

Caley striker Billy McKay scoops this week's Premiership player award. Picture: SNS

  • by CRIAG P STEWART
 

Despite the wind and the rain diluting the fixture list on Saturday there was still more than enough activity for the Scotsman Weekly Awards to be handed out.

Of the 21 games scheduled to take place, 18 started however only 16 finished after abandonments at Partick Thistle and Queen of the South.

A former Scottish internationalist heads the winning list this week with positive awards also heading to Cowdenbeath, Stranraer, Inverness, Dundee, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, Ayr, Berwick and Cumbernauld.

The not so positive ‘Bad weekend for’ award is also on its way to one of these places.

Good weekend for – Gary Naysmith (East Fife)

Naysmith took the reins at Bayview a fortnight ago on an interim basis, when Willie Aitchision called it a day and the 35 year old has led the Fifers to wins over Stenhousemuir and Airdrie.

On Saturday his team fell behind to the Diamonds however they hit back to win 3-1 and move 9 points clear of their hosts at the foot of the table.

A new permanent manager is due to be appointed this week and in taking six points out of a possible six Naysmith cannot do anymore to state his case for the job.

Bad weekend for – Dundee

Having waited 4 months to move to the top of the Championship last weekend Dundee let go of the lead at the first time of asking when they slumped 2-1 at home to Cowdenbeath.

The Dark Blues were unbeaten at home and were expected to see off a Blue Brazil side that had let a two goal lead slip in their last two games as they lost to Hamilton and Livingston.

The Fifers were the more determined side as Dundee put in an off colour performance to head home with the three points with John Brown’s players leaving to a chorus of boos at the end of the game.

Team of the week – Cowdenbeath

Dundee’s disappointment should not outshine Cowdenbeath happiness at not only winning their first away game of the season but their first win at Dens Park since a 4-0 success back in 1931.

The game was only Jimmy Nicholl’s second one in charge and after their heartbreak against Livingston last weekend there was only delight for the Blue Brazil.

Defeats for Morton and Dumbarton helped add to the feeling of joy at the Central Park side, however Nicholl knows that there is still a long way to go.

Manager of the week – Stephen Aitken (Stranraer)

Aitken’s stock just keeps rising and rising and last week he was awarded the Manager of the Month for the second month running and his men saw off Clyde 4-1 in a William Hill Scottish Cup tie before beating Brechin 3-0 at the weekend.

Aitken, who combines his time at Stair Park with working for Rolls Royce, obviously knows quality when he sees it and his team now sit third some 6 points ahead of Ayr United in the race for a play-off place.

Stranraer have won 5 League 1 matches in a row and their next game is at Ibrox on Boxing Day. Someone’s winning run has to come to an end in that one and Aitken will be up for more honours if they put a stop to Rangers’ one.

Premiership Player of the week – Billy McKay (Inverness Caledonian Thistle)

The Inverness Caledonian Thistle fans sing that ‘He scores when he wants’ as the Northern Ireland internationalist bagged both goals as Hearts were seen off 2-0 at Tynecastle.

McKay clipped in a right foot shot with an hour gone to break the deadlock before hitting home goal number 15 of the season with 8 minutes left with a left footed effort.

John Hughes has just started working at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium but he may find himself busy handling phone calls about McKay’s availability when the Transfer Window opens next month.

Premiership Goal of the week – Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United)

Dundee United came up with their usual haul of 4 goals when Kilmarnock were defeated at Rugby Park and Armstrong’s goal was the pick of the bunch.

With The Tannadice men leading 1-0 Armstrong accepted a pass from Paul Paton before embarking on a swashbuckling run that took him clear on the right hand side of the home defence before he slotted easily past Craig Samson.

Championship Player of the week – Lewis Vaughan (Raith Rovers)

Teenager Vaughan lit up Rovers’ 2-1 win over Dumbarton at the weekend when he scored his first ever senior goal to open the scoring and then help make it 2-0 when his side were numerically disadvantaged.

The 17 year old turned in Callum Booth’s cross early in the second half before setting up Jason Thomson to score after team-mate Joe Cardle had been dismissed.

Championship Goal of the week – Jim McAllister (Dundee)

The one bright spot for the Dark Blues in Saturday’s defeat from Cowdenbeath was McAllister’s goal that tied the scores at 1-1. The former Morton and Hamilton Accies player cracked the ball home from 20 yards however even this was not enough to spark John Brown’s men into greater effort.

League 1 Player of the week – Ryan Wallace (Dunfermline Athletic)

The Pars found themselves two goals down at Somerset Park however a double from Ryan Wallace helped them win 4-2. Wallace grabbed the equaliser from the penalty spot as the game turned Dunfermline’s way and he then ran on to a Josh Falkingham pass to send in a shot that put Jim Jefferies men in charge at 3-2.

League 1 Goal of the week – Brian Gilmour (Ayr United)

Ayr’s day had started brightly when recent signing Gilmour scored from his own half. Encouraged by having the wind at his back Gilmour sent a chip over Dunfermline goalkeeper Ryan Scully from 60 yards out.

Gilmour has just returned to Scotland from playing in Iceland for 2 years and perhaps he has learnt a thing or two over there.

League 2 Player of the week – Darren Lavery (Berwick Rangers)

Berwick badly needed a goal at the weekend against East Stirling after last Saturday’s punchless display at Elgin that ended in a 2-0 defeat which saw the Shielfield men become further detached from the promotion chasing pack.

Lavery was restored to the starting line-up and he repaid manager Ian Little’s faith in him by drilling a low shot home and settling home nerves.

League 2 Goal of the week – Scott Ferguson (Clyde)

Ferguson is small in stature however he is gaining a reputation as a winner of headers due to his ability to hang in the air. The 18 year old showed his prowess again on Saturday as he lifted himself off the ground at Links Park and hung there long enough to bullet home a header from a Kieran MacDonald cross.

 

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