Winners and losers in Scottish football this week

Christian Nade celebrates his equalizer and taunts the Hibs fans. Picture: Greg Macvean

Christian Nade celebrates his equalizer and taunts the Hibs fans. Picture: Greg Macvean

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BEFORE the excitement of the weekend’s football comes around once more, Craig Fowler and John Callan of The Terrace Scottish Football Podcast look back over the past six days and select the winners and losers.

THE WINNERS

Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock)

Highlight: The midfielder scored his fourth goal in Kilmarnock’s excellent 2-0 win over Dundee United.

There were legitimate reservations when he was signed, purely from glancing at his career history, but now it’s all clicking into place for Killie, and he seems to have found a perfect role within that. He’s got Alexei Eremenko behind him making the passes, Josh Magennis in front doing the daft laddie running, while he’s picking his moments from the left and being the most effective of the lot. The way he took his goal on Friday, and the way he found space before it, was excellent. He’s taken a lot of people by surprise. At the start of the season you could have easily imagined a dysfunctional Killie with Eremenko threading beautiful through balls only for the guys in front of him to make useless runs into the hoardings or something - but they’ve all stepped up. JC

Marley Watkins (Inverness CT)

Highlight: The winger scored the equaliser in Sunday’s Highland derby.

He’s made a terrific start to this season. He’s got three goals in his last three matches and really beginning to grow in confidence. When he first arrived he looked little more than a one trick pony - that trick being incredible pace - but he’s got good technique and if he can add goals consistently, like capable of getting eight or so across the campaign, then he could be huge for that side.

When John Hughes’ bunch are in full flight going forward, as they were in the second half against County, they’re tremendous to watch. They’re clearly comfortable playing alongside one another, with the way they move and interchange when they’re attacking. Aside from maybe a couple of stellar Ryan Christie performances this season, Watkins has probably been the best of the lot. CF

Christian Nade (Raith Rovers)

Highlight: The striker scored at Easter Road; responded to ‘fat’ jibes with rippling muscles.

According to Soccerbase, which isn’t faultless but a good indicator nonetheless, he’s scored 27 goals his entire career. Three of them have come at Easter Road.

In the Scottish Championship he has found his level. He could be a really good squad player to have at the top flight, but in terms of playing every week he still has those maddening performances when he can barely do anything right and looks like he could play all season and not even receive a decent chance, let alone score.

It should also be said that he has lost weight. He was never “fat”, but just not as skinny as he could have been at Hearts. That little bit of weight he has lost - half a stone or so - has improved his mobility tremendously. CF

Stephen O’Donnell (Partick Thistle)

Highlight: Scored the third goal and secured the win in Thistle’s 3-1 victory over Motherwell

He’s ready to have a big year this season. Last year he was in and out of the side as Alan Archibald soon realised they didn’t have the quality to sustain two attacking full-backs who were suspect defensively, and so one of O’Donnell or Aaron Taylor-Sinclair had to be sacrificed. Taylor-Sinclair benefited from having a superb run of form immediately after promotion, which he never quite reached again throughout the remainder of the season, though it was enough to keep him preferable to O’Donnell. It stands to reason that his departure could help O’Donnell gain a little more license to get himself forward. If he could tighten up defensively he’d be a sure fire top six player. JC

THE LOSERS

Michael O’Halloran (St Johnstone)

Low point: Hilarious miss in Saturday’s loss to St Mirren

This is a time where Saints really need guys like him to take on responsibility to carry them through a tough patch, and he just doesn’t look up to it. He functioned well towards the back end of last season when they were working as a cohesive unit, but now they need a bit of individual quality to get them through matches and he isn’t really contributing enough. David Wotherspoon is in a similar situation but Wotherspoon lacks the physical abilities O’Halloran has to really take a game by the scruff of the neck. JC

Leigh Griffiths (Celtic)

Low point: Given rare chance to prove himself; couldn’t convert decent chance to equalise.

This is not a reaction to his performance against Hamilton because, quite frankly, there are about 10 Celtic players who deserve to be considered ‘losers’ ahead of him if you’re basing it solely on that one match. However, it’s quite clear that Ronny Deila doesn’t rate him highly, and the only way he’s going to change that is by scoring goals when he gets a chance. Goal down to Hamilton, at home, the rest of the players struggling; it was a perfect scenario for him to prove his manager wrong, and he puts his only chance wide. Missing chances like that have got to be expected, but he’s not going to get many more opportunities in the first team. CF

Billy Mckay (Inverness CT)

Low point: Didn’t score with a couple of good chances in the Highland derby. Still hasn’t netted since opening day.

It’s a double-edged sword because Inverness look a far more cohesive attacking unit now that he’s not scoring. It wouldn’t be the first time a team has looked better for not basing all their attacks around a single individual, though he’s clearly short of confidence when it comes to one-on-ones and the like.

It seemed last season, and the 2012/13 campaign, that Mckay was the type of scorer who’d get one chance and bury it. He’s still getting that chance but the ball is just not hitting the back of the net. He might be more a 10-15 goal-a-season player who happened to enjoy a couple of fruitful years. CF

Ash Taylor (Aberdeen)

Low point: Conceded penalty in Aberdeen’s win over Dundee.

He looks like the raw ingredients of a defender that no-one’s bothered to stick in the oven.

For him to be a success he had to be of a standard at least comparable to Andrew Considine. He’s younger but he just looks like he can’t hack it at this level. He’s a bit cumbersome, and he looks incredibly nervy and ungainly in possession. As if he’s a 5’8” man stuck inside a 6’4” man’s body. Since Considine’s only 27, the signing never made much sense. JC

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