The 10 best Scottish lower league players this week

September 20, 2017

10. Jame Stevenson (Peterhead)

According to the Central Fife Times, Bobby Brown pointed out after Peterhead’s 4-0 win over Cowdenbeath that the Blue Toon are the best side in League Two this season. We’re guessing that’s just a typo and they meant Billy, but if the local paper has genuinely called the R&B maverick to discuss Wullie Gibson then fair play to them. Billy had a few interesting comments though, telling one particularly vocal Cowden fan at one point to “shut up you fucking arsehole,” his finest moment since that post-match interview along the road at Methil. Pushing joviality to one side however, this was another disastrous performance from Cowdenbeath, who have now went four games without a goal. It was all too easy for Jim McInally’s side, with Jamie Stevenson putting in a fine shift at right-back, while Gibson scored one of his trademark rakers. Peterhead stay in touch at the top, as Cowden slump to the foot of the table.

9. Aaron Murrell (Berwick Rangers)

Robbie Horn grabbed his first win as Berwick boss on Saturday, although it didn’t look particularly likely at one point, with his side two down to Elgin City with less than twenty minutes remaining. In fairness, they should never have been in that position in the first place, finding themselves two behind thanks to shoddy defending and some cockamamie finishing down the other end. Aaron Murrell did manage to rescue matters, though, with a double in the final 17 minutes, while David McKenna scored the winner in the 87th minute, sparking wild scenes in the home end. Well, they sounded wild, but unfortunately we were prevented from seeing them, as a large excitable bald man obscured the camera with the back of his glistening pate. Berwick move up to fifth, while Elgin’s woes continue.

8. Danny Denholm (Arbroath)

The 5-0 defeat to Arbroath heralded the end of Gary Bollan’s tenure as Forfar boss, a fact that few Loons will likely lament. The supporters were certainly scathing about their team’s performance after the defeat to their local rivals, but the players dreadful attitude was there to see before kick-off, when nine of the starting eleven failed to high five Baxter Bridie as they ran out the tunnel. Shameful. The match was as one-sided as it gets though, and whatever the reason for Forfar’s slump since February, it seemed abundantly clear that the players no longer had any gumption under Gary. In his short spell at Station Park, he’s created a side that temporarily looked far too good for League Two, but has since regressed into one which appears completely inadequate for League One, a point hammered home by Danny Denholm dictating matters during this romp. Arbroath move up to third, as Forfar start the quest for a new boss.

7. Jamie Adams (Ayr United)

It was all happening at Somerset Park on Saturday. Six goals, a managerial dismissal, a dubious penalty, a narrowly avoided rammy, and most curiously of all, Jamie Adams scoring a goal before doing a weird hurdle over the advertising hoardings and disappearing into the Ayr fans. Perhaps surprisingly in a game involving Alloa, the managerial heave-ho didn’t involve Jim Goodwin, but Ian McCall, who was sent packing by the referee after Ayr made it 3-3 in the final minutes, but was then hauled back from lamping someone in the Wasps technical area. He was probably annoyed that Alloa had been awarded a penalty for Adams heading the ball in the box, a cruel decision considering how well the midfielder had played on the day. Ayr stay second, but slip six points behind top-of-the-table Raith.

6. Dimitris Froxylias (Dumbarton)

It was always likely that Cypriot forward Dimitris Froxylias was going to become something of a cult hero down Dumbarton way, but he pretty much confirmed it at the weekend after the Son’s somewhat fortuitous come-from-behind win over Brechin City. The Glebe Park side appeared to be on their way to a badly required three points, but Aron Lynas’s red-card swung the game the home side’s way, and two goals in the final ten minutes lifted Dumbarton up to seventh, while condemning Brechin to another loss. According to the Daily Record, it was Steve Aitken’s decision to bring on Gregory Nade which swung the fixture, a player we’d never heard of, but we’d like to know more about. While his half-hour cameo was decisive, Froxylias proved the difference, repeating the same trick he performed against Connahs Quays, by conjuring up a last gasp goal to seal the win

5. Bobby Barr (Raith Rovers)

Considering last season contained more horror for Raith Rovers fans than the entire Saw franchise, it’s safe to conclude that they’re enjoying this one significantly more. Their 5-0 win over Queen’s Park made them the top goalscorers in the country this season with 19, while their miserly defence has let in the joint fewest with just three conceded. More importantly, with Ayr dropping points at home to Alloa, Barry Smith’s side are now six points clear at the top of the table after this perfunctory but somewhat flattering win. Bobby Barr was again on his mettle, with a goal and two assists, and with favourable looking fixtures coming up, Rovers will be looking to extend their lead gong into the international break.

4. Declan McManus (Dunfermline Athletic)

There was a fair dollop of surprise at how easily Dunfermline dismantled St. Mirren at the weekend, although considering the Buddies had recently received the kiss of death in the shape of high praise on Thursday’s pod, perhaps this 3-0 pumping should have been expected. The Pars win was even achieved without the in-form Joe Cardle, who was substituted off at 0-0 with a knock, but it failed to dent Allan Johnston’s side dominance as they ran roughshod over a ragged Paisley outfit. The stage was set for Gavin Reilly to haunt his old club, but instead it was another forward who shone in Declan McManus, whose only negative came after he scored the opener and tried to shoosh the away fans, but instead, managed to poke himself in the eye. Talking about unusual celebrations….

3. Jai Quitongo (Morton)

We like Jai Quitongo, we really do, but we’ll never truly take him to our hearts unless he picks one type of goal celebration and sticks with it. We can understand him getting a little carried away after such a splendid strike in Morton’s 2-1 win over Queen of the South, but some backflips, a Vince McMahon strut, blowing kisses AND making a heart-shape with your fingers? Come on now, that’s just silly. The goal wasn’t Quitongo’s only contribution, with his wee legs a blur as he sprinted down the wing to provide Ross Forbes for the opener, as Jim Duffy’s side moved up to third, with just one defeat to their name this term. With the Championship so open this season, there may just be room for Morton to again squeeze their way into the top four.

2. Scott Agnew (Stranraer)

The Blues 4-0 win over Albion Rovers was Pie and Bovril’s League One performance of the week, and praise doesn’t get any higher than that. The romp lifted Stevie Farrell’s men into the playoff positions at the expense of their opponents, and the topsy-turvy, unpredictable nature of the third tier sees just three points separating Ayr United in second place and Airdrie in eighth. Three was also the magic number as far as Scott Agnew was concerned, with the midfielder scoring a hat-trick against the curiously up-and-down Rovers team, taking his tally for the season up to seven. With 12 goals scored in their last four games, tightening things up at the back should see the Blues alright this term.

1. Abdelkarim Belmokhtar (Edinburgh City)

Due to its specificity, we were kinda doubtful that anyone could fill the void left by Dylan Nguene Bikey in the Frenchman-with-a-brilliant-name-signs-for-a-lower-league-club-on-amateur-terms-and-turns-out-to-be-really-good department, but it looks like we won’t be disappointed. The name of Abdelkarim Belmokhtar on the Edinburgh team-sheet pretty much emerged out of the blue at the weekend, but Gary Jardine appears to have unearthed a gem, with the Frenchman producing the finest debut since New Radicals released You Get What You Give back in 1999, scoring two exceptional efforts, as Edinburgh defeated Clyde 3-2. The win lifted City out of the dreaded bottom spot, while Clyde’s season shows no signs of taking off.

 

Written by Shaughan McGuigan


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