Monday SPFL verdict: Top players, teams & managers

Calum Elliot and Raith Rovers were the big winners this weekend. Picture: SNS
Calum Elliot and Raith Rovers were the big winners this weekend. Picture: SNS
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THERE may not have been any Premiership football this weekend, however these Weekly Awards are here to show that there is more to Scottish football than just the top 12.

We have taken our usual look back at the SPFL over the past few days as well as looking at the replays in the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. As a result the awards are again spread right across the country.

We are sure that some of the verdicts are met with approval but even more importantly we hope that all awards encourage debate amongst football fans. Enjoy and discuss.

Good weekend for: Raith Rovers

Grant Murray’s side secured their first ever place in a Ramsdens Cup Final when they beat Annan Athletic 3-0 at Stark’s Park. The Kirkcaldy club have actually had more success in the League Cup since the Challenge Cup was introduced as the B & Q Centenary Cup back in 1990. They famously won the League Cup, when it was the Coca-Cola Cup, back in 1994 when they defeated Celtic on penalties in an epic final at Glasgow.

With Hampden out of commission for next April’s Ramsdens Cup final there is a possibility that they will get the chance to complete the double in Govan. However Stenhousemuir, who are the only previous winners left in the competition, may have something to say about that when they meet Rangers in the other semi-final two weeks tomorrow.

It was also a good week for Queen’s Park who won their first game of season 2013-2014 when they defeated Preston Athletic 2-1 in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

Bad weekend for: East Fife

The Methil side remain anchored at the foot of the League 1 table following Saturday’s 4-1 defeat from Ayr United. The Fifers, who have recruited the services of the experienced Gary Naysmith and Robbie Neilson, were denied the services of fellow new recruit Stephen Hughes against the Honest Men as he is not yet ready to play after nearly six months out.

Manager Willie Aitchison’s patience is running out over what he called ‘Calamity Jane’ defending.

Team of the week: Deveronvale

The Highland League side travelled to the Prestonfield stronghold of junior side Linlithgow Rose, in their Scottish Cup second round replay. The Banff men were two goals down in the first meeting with 10 minutes to play before they hit back to force a second game, and plenty of fans thought that was going to be as good as it gets for Charles Charlesworth’s team.

A goal down early in the replay Deveronvale scored three times without reply to secure a trip to Cliftonhill to face Albion Rovers.

Manager of the week: Ross Jack (Elgin City)

Jack steered the Borough Briggs men to their first ever win on English soil when they defeated Berwick Rangers 3-2 on Saturday. There had been 17 previous attempts to win at Shielfield going as far back as a Scottish Cup tie in 1970, and just to make the occasion all the more noteworthy Jack’s side were two goals down just fter the break. It was also Elgin’s seventh game in a row without defeat.

Scottish Cup Player of the week: Blair Spittal (Queen’s Park)

The youngster showed a lot of maturity to fire his side two goals ahead at the Pennypit in their 2-1 win over Preston Athletic. Spittal sent a low shot home to open the scoring before head flicking in his side’s second goal, and for a 17-year-old he showed great maturity to help calm the game down despite the best efforts of a minority of the Preston fans.

Scottish Cup Goal of the week: Craig Cowie (Deveronvale)

Cowie’s equaliser for Deveronvale in their success against Linlithgow Rose was an outstanding goal. The midfielder dummied Connor Rennie’s low cross to team-mate Graeme Watt, who was in a better position, but when his effort was blocked and sailed into the air Cowie produced an overhead kick to find the net.

Championship Player of the week: Scott Bain (Alloa)

The Wasps goalkeeper put the shutters up against Falkirk and defied Phil Roberts, Rory Loy and Blair Alston with wonder saves. Recreation Park boss Paul Hartley certainly picked a winner when he returned to his former club Aberdeen to make Bain one of his first signings. Now aged 21 and with over 100 games under his belt he is starting to get attention and a return to full-time football could be on the cards for the promising shot-stopper.

Championship Goal of the week: Ryan Conroy (Dundee)

For the second week running, the vote goes to a Dundee player with Conroy taking over from Craig Beattie. Conroy rifled in his side’s second goal from 25 yards as the Dark Blues saw off the challenge of hosts Dumbarton 4-1.

League 1 Player of the Week: Michael Donald (Ayr United)

Donald scored the first and last of his side’s goals in their 4-1 win at East Fife. The former Rangers kid was picked up by the Honest Men after spells in American college football as well as Ayrshire amateurs and juniors almost a year ago. He looks to have been a real find and capable of scoring goals from outside the box and close range as he proved at Bayview.

League 1 Goal of the week: Chris Aitken (Stranraer)

Aitken hit home a 25 yard piledriver for his side to win 2-1 against Forfar at Station Park. Aitken recently also netted against Hibs in the Scottish League Cup and he is certainly keeping big brother Stephen, who is also the Blues’ boss, happy.

League 2 Player of the Week: Shane Sutherland (Elgin City)

Sutherland scored two and was upended in the box as the Borough Briggs men won 3-2 at Berwick Rangers. Trailing 2-0, Sutherland chipped over Berwick shot-stopper Paul Grant and then slid home his second from a tight angle before being fouled for Paul Harkin’s penalty winner.

League 2 Goal of the week: Fraser McLaren (Peterhead)

McLaren got the Blue Toon’s goal in their 1-1 draw with Clyde. Hours of work on the training pitch came together as McLaren ran in to convert Bryan Gilfillan’s delivery to put his side one up. With two penalties conceded and two men sent off manager Jim McInally will have plenty to ponder after this one, but at least McLaren’s goal will be well remembered.