The 10 best Scottish lower league players this week

March 28, 2018

10. Jordyn Sheerin (Cowdenbeath)

Jordyn Sheerin’s physique is such that he makes Ryan McCord look like a fussy eater, but the forward’s arrival at Central Park has been a major factor in the club’s recent mini-revival. It would be fair to say that failing to win a game between August and March has hamstrung them a little this term, but a recent burst of four games without defeat, including two, yes two, consecutive wins now gives them a little belief and gusto going into the season’s final murmurings. They rescued a point against Stirling Albion at the weekend with a 2-2 draw, and while it’s far-too-little and far-too-late to avoid the dreaded tenth spot, escaping via the playoffs doesn’t look quite such a long-shot.

9. Scott Agnew (Stranraer)

It all seemed to be going swimmingly for Arbroath. Two up against an out-of-form Stranraer side with a little over twenty minutes to go, it appeared the three points would be staying at the Gayfield wind-bowl. However, as the Stranraer players stood over a free-kick into the area, some wily old sage close to the camera mused: “This was the type Rab Douglas would let in.” Well, unsurprisingly it would appear, so does David Hutton. The Blues would turn things around in an extraordinary closing period, with Scott Agnew helping set up the first before scoring the winner in a 3-2 win, a result which delays rather than derails Arbroath’s playoff tilt.

8. Ray Grant (Clyde)

It was only last season that Stewart Petrie led Montrose from bottom of the table to the playoffs, and based on current form Danny Lennon is about to do something similar with Clyde. The Bully Wee have now won 10 of their last 13 league matches, and are sitting a point ahead of a rapidly deteriorating Stenhousemuir. Lennon’s winter recruitment program has been rightly praised, and it was one of those he brought in, Ray Grant, who was the stand-out in this excellent 3-0 triumph over Montrose, with the midfielder doing a fine job of disrupting the Angus club’s attacks and giving Clyde a basis to attack from. Despite their lowly position just a couple of months ago, Clyde could potentially be favourites to go up with the league champions.

7. Scott Robertson (Raith Rovers)

Considering how poorly Raith have performed away from home for what feels like an eternity, it was something of a surprise that they managed to turn in a dominant performance against an Airdrie team who had only lost one home league game all season. Admittedly it did coincide with the return of Scott Robertson to midfield, something which actually allows the team to play some football, rather than lumping 60-yard-passes in the vague direction of whichever player had been picked out of the who-plays-up-front-today tombola. The 2-1 win could easily have been more, but with time running out Rovers are needing snookers to usurp Ayr at the summit of League One.

6. Bilel Mohsni (Dundee United)

Newly acquired mentalist Bilel Mohsni was meritoriously awarded the man-of-the-match award on Saturday, which made it slightly odd that his new boss and fellow curiosity Csaba Laszlo declared afterwards that he’d like to kill him. That said, Laszlo being odd has been pretty much par for the course during his tenure. This 1-1 draw between Dundee United and Dunfermline didn’t do either side much good, and it was difficult to ascertain if Mohsni was actually good or just slightly better than the dreck the United fans are forced to watch week-in-week-out. That query should be answered between now and the end of the season, unless his boss decides to carry out his threat.

5. Coll Donaldson (Inverness Caledonian Thistle)

Inverness defender Coll Donaldson described his time at Tannadice as being blighted by a toxic atmosphere, which should guarantee him a big friendly welcome any time he visits the venue in the near future. He might not have to, of course, with Dundee United gunning for promotion via the playoffs, although the chances of that occurring must be approximately the same as Brechin winning a match. Donaldson was man of the match in a disappointing Irn Bru Cup final, and despite the Sons lack of ambition, you couldn’t help but feel sympathy at their concession of a 92nd minute goal in their 1-0 defeat. Donaldson made off with the prize bottle of Bru, although his opinion on whether or not the new recipe has spoiled the taste failed to be gathered.

4. John Baird (Morton)

One day Brechin fans may actually look back on this season and laugh, but it won’t be for a while. While the board were up front about their intention not to overspend and ‘chase a dream,’ they’ve sold their fans short with their ineptitude this term. Their lack of preparation for the Championship is akin to the stories about dunderheids having to be airlifted to safety from Ben Nevis after attempting to stroll up it in flip-flops, and this 2-0 defeat to Morton not only made it 25 defeats in 29 games, but condemned them to relegation before we’ve even reached April. That’s rubbish. John Baird’s fist and second goals for the Greenock club took them closer to cementing a playoff spot, while the only plus-point from a City perspective is that the season has one less game to go.

3. Steven Hetherington (Alloa Athletic)

It may have taken him four seasons, but Steven Hetherington is starting to show the promise which persuaded Alloa Athletic to sign him when they were in the second tier back in 2014. The former Motherwell midfielder has always been there or thereabouts in terms of the Wasps first team, but it’s only really this term where he’s genuinely stuck out as a player who may actually be capable of playing a smidgen higher than his current level. Hetherington certainly bossed proceedings during this 3-1 win for Alloa against Albion Rovers, a result which all but confirmed their place in the playoffs, where they’ll prove awkward adversaries for whomever they have to face.

2. Marc McCallum (Forfar Athletic)

It wouldn’t be stretching credulity to suggest that without Marc McCallum between the posts, Forfar would probably be facing demotion back to the bottom tier this season. That they currently sit four and five points above Albion Rovers and Queen’s Park respectively is in no small part down to the heroics of the former Plymouth goalkeeper, and he was at his brilliant best during Saturday’s 2-0 win over East Fife. His stop in the first period was his best, outrageously tipping over a Craig Thompson effort that already appeared to be over his head. With just two defeats in six games, the Loons look like they’ve just got enough to stay up.

1. Lawrence Shankland (Ayr United)

With every point a prisoner as Ayr look to secure the League One title, each game now takes on even greater prominence as the fixtures start to run down. Queen’s Park at home would have been penciled in as a three pointer beforehand, but there was still a sliver of concern as Raith took the lead at Airdrie, as this one sat in deadlock. Ayr fans needn’t have been concerned, though, as a Lawrence Shankland hat-trick after little more than half-an-hour put Ayr on easy street in a 4-0 win. With just three points separating the top two, the title race could conceivably go down to a final day slobberknocker.


Written by Shaughan McGuigan

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