The 10 best Scottish lower league players this week

March 3, 2017

gibson goal

10. Pat Scullion (Berwick Rangers)

We were this close to handing a spot on the list to Berwick Rangers mentalist Michael McKenna once again. After all, when someone who has already been sent off three times this term, and is sitting on a booking, inexplicably decides to kick an opponent so hard that he almost knocks him into September 2019, then a commendation of some sort is truly worthy. However, our hand was forced by the performance of his teammate Pat Scullion, who is enjoying something of a renaissance since signing for John Coughlin’s men. Despite his man-of-the-match show, he was powerless to stop Elgin taking advantage of their numerical superiority, as they closed the gap at the top to ten points with two games in hand following this 1-0 win. We don’t claim to be experts at The Terrace, but we do suspect that Berwick’s ten red cards this season has somewhat hindered them.

9. Grant Anderson (Peterhead)

East Fife’s unbeaten run continued with this 1-1 draw with Peterhead, but with their numbers dwindling faster than a group of misbehaving teenagers in a slasher film, it’s going to be hard for them to sustain this play-off momentum. They still have the ability to fend off the challenge of the teams around them, but with Barry Smith only able to name four subs at the weekend, they could do with a clean bill of health, pronto. That they didn’t take all three points on owed much to Peterhead winger Grant Anderson who has always had all the attributes required at this level, apart from the fact his crossing is less accurate than a politicians promise. However, it was his assist which supplied Jordon Brown for The Blue Toon’s equaliser, which kept Jim McInally’s side within four points of a top four spot.

8. Gavin Skelton (Annan Athletic)

And that, thankfully, is that. Barry Ferguson’s time at Clyde will be long remembered, but for all the wrong reasons. League Two may be the shallowest of shallow ends in terms of football management, but it’s been evident for some time that Ferguson was way out of his depth. A charlatan masquerading as a boss, the fact he found it so easy to deliver dull, insipid opinions on where it was going wrong at Ibrox, but appeared to absolve himself of all blame as his own club picked up just two points from a possible 30 meant that compassion for him was in short supply. The 1-0 defeat to a Gavin Skelton inspired Annan was in keeping with the rest of his reign, with a performance that was a lumpen, ill-organised, shambles. Clyde’s gain is his next employers loss.

7. Steven Doris (Arbroath)

Arbroath forward Steven Doris was involved in one of the more unusual man-of-the-match ceremonies on Saturday evening. The bottle of rose was a little strange, but not as odd as the gentleman who presented him with it going down on one knee whilst handing it over. If anyone deserved a bottle of Blossom Hill, though, it was Doris, who scored the second of Arbroath’s four goals in a one-sided horsing of a Cowdenbeath team who with every passing week look more and more resigned to finishing bottom. Arbroath on the other hand haven’t settled for anything, and have taken advantage of Forfar’s three game spell without a win to move just six points behind them. Considering how miserable Gary Bollan’s face looks at the best of times, we’d hate to see it if they chucked away an apparently unassailable lead.

6. Lewis Morgan (St Mirren)

They’re leaving it a little late, but St Mirren might just be giving this staying up malarkey a bash. The Buddies have now lost just once in their last seven league and cup games, with Saturday’s 2-0 win over a risible Ayr team closing the gap at the bottom to five points, having played a game fewer than The Honest Men. In every area of the squad, from goalkeeper to up-front, Jack Ross appears to have upgraded over January, but it was a player who was already there who made the biggest difference at the weekend, with Lewis Morgan capping a good performance with a wonderful match sealing second goal.

5. Joe Thomson (Queen of the South)

The only way Raith Rovers fans could have taken any positives from this match is if they’d wandered into town and purchased a haggis and macaroni pie from T.A. Francis and Sons beforehand. This entire run of 16 games without a win has of course been bleak, but this, well, this was something else. Try and picture an afternoon of watching Mark Stewart and Bobby Barr chasing a football that has been vaguely punted in their general direction, whilst everyone else bumps into each other. It was a different story for Queens though, who look thoroughly assured in their newfound mid-table mediocrity, with Celtic loanee Joe Thomson having a grand game in the middle of the park. If Ayr and St. Mirren can get their act together, Rovers will start next season as one of the favourites for the League One title.

4. Willie Gibson (Stranraer)

Considering it wasn’t so long ago that Brechin were being praised for their adventures at the top of the table, their current malaise comes as even more of a surprise. This 2-0 defeat to Stranraer made it five successive defeats, and the Glebe Parkers now sit sixth, just three points ahead of Steve Farrell’s side who are ninth. And on current form you could argue that Darren Dod’s men, along with Albion Rovers and Stenhousemuir, are the teams in most trouble. Morgyn Neil had another good game at the back for The Blues, but it was that man Willie Gibson who again made the difference, with his outrageous goal from distance and assist for Craig Malcolm’s effort, sealing the deserved victory.

3. Lewis Vaughan (Dumbarton)

The Sons of the Rock continued their unusual tactic of attempting to 2-2 their way out of trouble from the lower reaches of the Championship table on Saturday. Unlike last week against Ayr though, this was far more a case of a point won against Falkirk rather than two being chucked into the River Leven. It was certainly entertaining fare down Grangemouth way, with four excellent goals in a game which swung hither and tither, but Lewis Vaughan’s was arguably the pick of them, with his jinky, slaloming run ending with a plumb finish, lending more weight to the argument he should probably be playing for Raith rather than being out on loan.

2. Andy Graham (Alloa Athletic)

Jim Goodwin was proclaiming that Alloa Athletic could still go up as champions this season. But with a nine point gap between themselves and Livingston, who have played a game fewer, gentleman Jim was possibly getting a little carried away as he basked in the aftermath of this 2-1 win over Airdrie. Centre-half Andy Graham isn’t an unlikely hero a such, but he is an improbable double goal-scorer, considering he’d scored just 11 in five years. The 33-year old’s early brace appeared to put The Wasps on easy street, but the experienced defender was also called upon in his more natural habitat as Mark Wilson’s side threatened a turnaround. Full-time teams generally win this division, but if Airdrie’s form continues, they may be the first full-timers to be demoted from it.

1. Paul McMullan (Dunfermline Athletic)

It was all a bit after-the-lord-mayor’s-show for Hibs on Saturday night, as they raced into a two goal lead against Dunfermline, before being pegged back and almost blown away by a resurgent Pars. Only the bottom three sides in the Championship have scored fewer goals than Allan Johnston’s team, and it’s not difficult to see why, with gilt edged chances being passed up willy-nilly. Star of the show was Paul McMullan, with the wide player looking like a man reborn in the black and white stripes of Atheltic after looking fairly dismal in the similar colours of St Mirren. He scored the goal which reduced the arrears in this 2-2 draw, and was the inspiration for much of Dunfermline’s excellence. Safety isn’t quite assured for the Kingdom dwellers, but a few more performances like this and they’ll be hunky-dory.

 

Written by Shaughan McGuigan


Comments

  1. Bablofil - March 5, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Thanks, great article.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to Podcast