Five best Scottish lower league players this week

A returning, old Scottish football favourite, Hibernian’s top man from Sunday, and Scotland’s top goalscorer appear in this week’s top five.
Jason Scotland was in cracking form in his first start for Stenhousemuir. Picture: Scott LoudenJason Scotland was in cracking form in his first start for Stenhousemuir. Picture: Scott Louden
Jason Scotland was in cracking form in his first start for Stenhousemuir. Picture: Scott Louden

1. Jason Scotland (Stenhousemuir)

The history of sport is festooned with great sporting comebacks. The 2005 Champions League Final for example, or the Miracle In Medinah in 2012 or even Rocky Balboa defeating Ivan Drago in Rocky IV back in 1985. Each and all are solid-gold nuggets of sporting achievements, but none of them surpass Stenhousemuir’s jack-in-the-box victory against Peterhead on Saturday.

3-0 down and with apparently all hope gone, they threatened to make a game of it just before half-time when Colin McMenamin lobbed Blue Toon goalkeeper Graeme Smith from a quite improbable distance. The second-half belonged to just one man, however.

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Jason Scotland dragged the Warriors across the winning line, nabbing their second before rifling home the equaliser from the edge of the box, side-stepping umpteen challenges in the process in a manner that most Roy of the Rovers enthusiasts would have regarded as far-fetched.

In the unlikely event that Jason Scotland never scores for Stenhousemuir again, his contribution on Saturday alone would justify his signing.

2. John McGinn (Hibernian)

If there can be such a thing as a must-win game before November has even arrived, then Hibernian versus Rangers was probably it. Not for Mark Warburton’s Magic-Hatters right enough, their previously-perfect start to the campaign meant they could afford a slip-up or three, but definitely in the case of Hibs.

The Leith side’s 2-1 win may just have planted a kernel of self-doubt in the minds of the Rangers players, whilst simultaneously bolstering the resolve of Stubbs’ Stormtroopers.

Jason Cummings was understandably wheeled out to speak to the press, not just because he isn’t shy about coming forward, but because he’d also managed to spank a fantastic opener past the future England Number One, Wes Foderingham.

However, Alan Stubbs elected to eulogise over the influence of John McGinn, who for the second week running was the best player on the park, showing an intelligence and vision that wasn’t always on display at St Mirren. Admittedly though, it’s trickier when you’ve got a spiky pole stuck in your leg.

We might just get a Championship title race, yet.

3. Rory McAllister (Peterhead)

It was only last week that this very Top-Ten list pointed out that Rory McAllister’s exceptional personal form was being undermined by the Blue Toon’s bum-season, and Saturday was surely the perfect example.

3-0 up and cruising at half-time, they somehow ended up taking nothing from a game which appeared done-and-dusted at the interval after a magnificent display from Big-Mac.

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It’s been obvious all season that Stenny’s defence has been their Achilles heel and it was almost the case again on Saturday, with McAllister at times resembling an adult who had gate-crashed a kids game, bullying opponents left-right and centre.

His goal-glut on Saturday took his tally for the season to 17. Ridiculously, it still counted for nought.

4. Jordan White (Livingston)

You may not be aware of it as neither the club nor their fans like to make a big deal about it, but Raith Rovers once took the lead against Bayern Munich.

I know what you’re thinking, “jeezo, they kept that quiet.” Well, Saturday was the 20th anniversary of that proud achievement, and what better way to celebrate it than being utterly bodied by Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena, with the additional bonus of listening to The Macarena every time a goal goes in. Wunderbar!

Big Jordan White was the main man once again, scoring twice as Rovers ran in arguably their worst performance of the season, while Livingston simultaneously turned in one of the better ones.

The 3-0 win lifted Livingston to seventh place in the table, their highest placing all season.

Rovers fans however, could console themselves by looking at a framed picture of a scoreboard from 1995.

5. Gary Fraser (Montrose)

While a plethora of teams have been mentioned in the League Two equations this season, Montrose, seemingly whilst no-one was looking, have crept up into second place in the table.

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It shows just how even the division is that Montrose can sit so close to the top, despite losing almost as many games as they’ve won this term. Indeed, since the last weekend of August, they’ve lost every other league game.

Paul Hegarty was understandably delighted with his players efforts, but he perhaps should have reserved a special mention for Fraser, who scored two and set up another in a one-sided contest.

The defeat was a loss too far for the Berwick board, who elected to bring the curtain down on Colin Cameron’s tenure as Berwick manager in the aftermath of the match. Look out for him popping up at a Junior venue near you soon.

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Follow Shaughan on Twitter at @ShaughanM