The 10 best Scottish lower league players this week

August 23, 2017

10. Ryan Sinammon (Annan Athletic)

“You don’t win anything with kids,” said Alan Hansen, a man who was presumably unfamiliar with how ‘Bonnie Baby’ competitions work. However, while he was a bit wayward with his conjecture on Manchester United, he’d have a point if he was referencing the current Berwick Rangers team. Although, in fairness, a lack of ability rather than birthdays is probably the Wee Rangers biggest flaw. That said, the squad does have a lower average age than an episode of Grange Hill, and its youthful naivety was exposed by Annan at the weekend, who chalked up an impressive 5-1 victory. Ryan Sinammon was probably the pick of the Galabankies bunch with a goal and an assist, which led to a cringe inducing in-house Berwick post-match video where the interviewer essentially tells John Coughlin that his team’s rubbish. Awkward.

*Since this article was first written, Coughlin has been binned by Berwick

9. Callum Fordyce (Queen of the South)

If Queen of the South decide to cash in on prize asset Stephen Dobbie they potentially already have an ideal, but unlikely, replacement. Callum Fordyce may be associated with preventing goals rather than scoring them, but his effort on Saturday was his second in two league games, and was enough to seal a 1-0 win for the Doonhamers. The win lifted Queens up to third, but their plight was made somewhat simpler by Sons boss Steve Aitken strangely electing to mothball his best attacking options on the bench for the majority of the match. It’s been a frustrating start to the season for the Sons, but an efficient one from Gary Naysmith’s outfit.

8. Ross Callachan (Raith Rovers)

This was all shaping up to be a particularly troublesome day for Raith Rovers. They may have had a man advantage since the 39th minute, but Forfar had defended diligently until the 85th, marshalled well by Simon Mensing and new French acquisition Rodrigues Nanitelamio, a player who is both magnificently named and an utter giant. However, even though Marc McCallum had to spend approximately 60 seconds adjusting his socks before each goal kick, the Loons couldn’t quite hold out for the full 90. Vaughan scored for the seventh match running for Raith, but it was Ross Callachan who was the game’s best player. Both he and fellow central midfielder Scott Robertson are starting to produce a decent alliance in the middle of the park.

7. Ryan Goodfellow (East Fife)

It was quite the ding-a-ling at Gayfield as Arbroath and East Fife shared five goals between them, with the Methil Magnificents just shading matters. The 3-2 win means that next week’s Fife derby will be an (almost) top-of-the-table affair, with Raith in second and East Fife nestled neatly in third. That they’re up there owed much to the performance of goalkeeper Ryan Goodfellow, who may have been disappointed at the concession of Arbroath’s first, but more than redeemed himself with a flurry of stops as the Red Lichties pushed for an equaliser. Oddly, the Fife derby match tickets have been printed by Dundee, on generic Dundee FC briefs. We’re sure there’s a simple explanation, but we’re happy to remain oblivious.

6. A Trialist (Airdrieonians)

It was business as usual at Airdrie on Saturday, and by business as usual, we mean it was absolutely radge. Firstly, they managed to win the Monklands derby by two goals to one, despite fielding a team that appeared to consist mostly of trialists, loanees and some randomly corralled waifs and strays. You’d presume it was a great Saturday for Airdrieonians everywhere, but within two hours of full-time they’d announced they’d parted company with head coach Willie Aitchison, with a statement that explained little, and contained roughly the same amount of words as a knock-knock joke. As for the game, their mystery centre-half *cough Conrad Balatoni cough* looked a cut above, but as to where Airdrie goes from here, well that’s anyone’s guess

5. Lewis Strapp (Elgin City)

“Fuckin yaaaaaas what a win, en route to Groove to get absolutely fuckin pickled,” tweeted Darryl McHardy after Elgin’s come-from-behind win over Clyde. Now, we’re not entirely sure what Groove is, but judging by the rest of the sentence we’d imagine it isn’t somewhere that specialises in fruit smoothies and herbal tea. You can understand the law-bothering centre-half’s excitement, though, after Elgin took all three points despite being 2-0 down, as Clyde once again let a lead slip from their grasp. Morton loanee Lewis Strapp proved he was far more than just an amusing surname with the left-back putting in an excellent debut performance which also included an assist for Chris McLeish’s equaliser. Fingers crossed big Darryl’s hangover wasn’t too bad.

4. Jamie Longworth (Stenhousemuir)

It’s always difficult to judge at this early juncture, but the nature in which Stenhousemuir bested Peterhead at Ochilview perhaps suggests that the ease with which the Blue Toon were expected to win League Two was a smidgen overstated. The 3-1 win was good enough, but the two goal manner of victory would have been even greater were it not for some Warriors wastefulness. Jamie Longworth grabbed the decisive third, a strike his performance deserved, and he also had a hand in Stenny’s second, albeit his involvement was a poor first touch with his belly before falling over, an unexpected manoeuvre which wrong-footed the twitchy Peterhead defence. Jim McInally will be looking for a reaction in this Saturday’s eye-catching match against Stirling Albion.

3. Gavin Reilly (St Mirren)

We presumed the ragamuffin that ran down the stairs to make the wanker gesture at Gary Irvine when he was red-carded was going to be the best curio of St Mirren’s 3-1 win over Livingston, but we were incorrect. That particular accolade has to go to the two Livingston ball boys, who enthusiastically celebrated the Buddies third goal, an action which is, well, really weird. That’s Livingston for you though, a club that’s so dislikable even their own ball-returning urchins revel in their defeats. Reilly’s brace puts him on half-a-dozen goals for the campaign, a stat that delights St Mirren fans almost as much as it confuses Dunfermline supporters.

2. Michael Moffat (Ayr United)

The Honest Men made it 12 league goals for the season with this 4-3 win over Stranraer, a figure that took them until the end of November to match last term. Paddy Boyle’s 85th minute winner prompted some wonderful scenes, with one fan going arse-over-tit into the ash, while a somewhat confused looking older gentleman performed a soft-shoe-shuffle towards the celebrating players. With a goal and assist, Michael Moffat’s performance was the main difference between the sides. Indeed, it was his removal which appeared to prompt Ayr’s sudden collapse, from 3-1 in front to 3-3, before Boyle’s last gasp intervention.

1. Joe Cardle (Dunfermline)

There were a fair few heads-gone moments the last time these two sides locked horns, and while the expectation was that there may be a repeat at the weekend, we didn’t think every single one of them would come from Falkirk. Craig Sibbald celebrated his return to the team by being sent off for kicking Joe Cardle off the ball, while Lee Miller followed suit for inexplicably attempting to body Nat Wedderburn. Considering big Nat would probably have his application for a role in The Expendables turned down for being too goddamn hard, we’re not sure that was wise. Joe Cardle ended up bagging a double in this 3-1 win, and there was just enough time for puce-pussed Peter Houston to spout off post match too. Magnificent stuff, as Falkirk sink below Brechin in the table.

Written by Shaughan McGuigan

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