The 10 Best Scottish Lower League Players This Week

May 11, 2017

1. Lewis Morgan (St. Mirren)

What a sensational comeback this has been from St. Mirren. They appeared to be doomed as recently as February, with just two league wins in their first 23 (twenty-three!) league fixtures. Yet here they are, confirming their Championship status with a 1-1 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road. Manager, Jack Ross may have brought in 10 new players in the January window, but he’s also managed to coax more out of the players who were already there. None more so than Lewis Morgan, who shone again on Saturday with his incisive run assisting Rory Loy’s equaliser. Ross will do well to hold on to both Morgan and Stevie Mallan, but if he can, expect the Buddies to challenge next term.

2. Andy Ryan (Airdrieonians)

The only way Airdrie wouldn’t qualify for the end-of-term play-offs, was if they lost by four goals to Queens Park. It says a lot about the kind of season they’ve had, that most observers actually felt this wasn’t quite such an outrageous scenario to envisage. It became slightly more tense when Queen’s Park took the lead through an excellent strike from Dario Zanatta, but that man Andy Ryan helped himself to a double as Airdrie eventually saw out proceedings by three goals to two. They’ll go into the play-off against Alloa as the underdog but with two wins against the Wasps this term, it may be closer than most are predicting.

Zanatta

3. Alex Mitchell (Annan Athletic)

The SPFL had hired a helicopter to ensure the League Two title reached the correct destination at full-time on Saturday. Such was the nature of Forfar’s latest collapse though, they could have saved a few bob by chucking it in the back of a rickshaw and it still would have arrived on time. Forfar were three down to Annan’s reserves in under 40 minutes – and unless this season ends in promotion via the play-offs, it’ll be the latest spectacular calamity to add to the play-off routs from Dunfermline and Alloa and the ignominy of last term’s relegation. They did rally to eventually lose 4-2, and could have won if not for the performance of Annan ‘keeper Alex Mitchell, but you wouldn’t stake too much on Gary Bollan’s team being a League One side next term.

4. Declan McManus (Raith Rovers)

Considering the litany of disasters that’s cultivated the omnishambles of Raith Rovers’ 2016/17 campaign, their supporters probably thought they’d seen it all. However, this team continues to find new ways to create shock and aw-naw, with their goalkeeper, Pavol Penksa, being dismissed in the opening seconds of Saturday’s match with Ayr United for completely Harold Schumachering Craig Moore just outside the box. Fair play to John Hughes’s team though, who dug in and ground out a result to win 2-1, with Declan McManus grabbing a last minute winner to cap a fine performance. It wasn’t enough to stay out of ninth spot, though, and the vagaries of the play-offs now await the Kirkcaldy catastrophes.

5. Nathan Austin (Falkirk)

Falkirk finished the season as Championship runners-up for the second successive season with this 1-0 win over Dumbarton. A fine achievement considering the reasonably stellar cast which has taken part in this league over the last couple of campaigns. Admittedly, this match wasn’t the greatest of spectacles with Nathan Austin providing the goal and the majority of the bright moments, as Falkirk pipped Dundee United to second. It was a different story at the post-game Dumbarton award ceremony though, with Robert Thomson and Andy Stirling getting whirled around a dance-floor in an Asda shopping trolley, all in response to a Dundee United fan labelling them, “shelf-stackers”. Next year will be Dumbarton’s sixth consecutive season in tier-two. Falkirk have high hopes that they won’t be joining them.

6. Kerr Waddell (Clyde)

It was smiles all round at Links Park. For Montrose, this 1-1 draw was good enough to seal a place in the play-offs – a superb achievement for Stewart Petrie and his players – after taking over in December with the side bottom of the pack. For Clyde, on the other hand, the smiles were probably down to the fact this abominable season was finished. That they survived in League Two was as much down to Cowdenbeath’s ineptitude, as much as any great shakes from themselves. Although on-loan Dundee defender Kerr Waddell had a fine match at the back, as Clyde ended the season out of the relegation play-off spot. Just.

7. Nathaniel Wedderburn (Dunfermline Athletic)

It was a fairly turgid, end-of-season affair on Saturday between Queen of the South and Dunfermline until the final minute of this drab encounter produced the most mirthsome moment of the weekend. A huge blooter up the park from Sean Murdoch shouldn’t have produced too much danger, nor should Nicky Clark’s plodding nod forward from about 25-yards-out, which bobbled and skidded towards Lee Robinson. The problem was that poor Lee had picked a particularly poor time to fall on his jacksy, and despite a despairing lunge, the Doonhamers bang average season had ended in bizarre circumstances. Goal aside, Nat Wedderburn had another fine performance at the heart of things for the Pars, as they snuck into fifth spot at the expense of their opponents.

Clark

8. Ross Kavanagh (Stirling Albion)

Arbroath didn’t quite get the win which was required to seal just their second ever league title, but the 1-1 draw was more than enough to require a visit from a helicopter. It seems to have taken an age for the Red Lichties to reel in a long-faltering Forfar, but after managing it last week they kept their noses in front thanks in part to the Loons capitulating again at Annan. Arbroath had made the perfect start, going one-nil up early doors through Martin Scott, but a penalty miss from Steven Doris galvanised the home side who fought back to level, with Ross Kavanagh leading the line superbly. Dick Campbell’s side held out though, to seal their second fourth-tier title in five seasons.

9. Jordan Brown (Peterhead)

We may have somewhat written them off on last week’s pod, but Peterhead produced the goods against a weakened Alloa side at the weekend to snatch ninth place from right beneath the running noses of Stenhousemuir. Despite Alloa resting the majority of their heavy-hitters, the 3-2 win was still an impressive one, with the Blue Toon twice coming from a goal down to do what was necessary to top-trump the Warriors. Midfielder, Jordan Brown come up with the all-important late goal, as Jim McInally’s side survived for at least another week or two and will now attempt to navigate the League One play-offs.

10. Kudus Oyenuga (Morton)

Morton versus Dundee United encounters have had a little in common with The Fast and the Furious franchise this season. Namely that there’s been loads of them… and they’re generally tripe. Saturday’s was number five of seven and it was hardly a thriller, as Dundee United failed to get the win they required and toiled to a 1-1 draw against an under-strength Morton team. Kudus Oyenuga had given the Greenock side the lead early in the first period, as he impressed on a reasonably rare start. The sixth meeting, which took place last night, certainly bucked that trend, fingers crossed meeting seven does the same.


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