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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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SPL Clydesdale Bank Team of the Week

GOALKEEPER JAMIE LANGFIELD (Aberdeen): The keeper suffered a traumatic evening as the Dons crashed out of the CIS Insurance Cup last week, but he was back to his assured best in withstanding everything Rangers could throw at him during the teams' 0-0 draw at Ibrox. This was Langfield's fifth consecutive clean sheet in SPL action and you have to go back to 1991, and Theo Snelders, to find the last Aberdeen player to enjoy such a run.

DEFENDER DANNY FOX (CELTIC): He is becoming a regular in these selections, and, although Celtic were nowhere near their best in disposing of St Mirren, Fox was both assured in his defensive duties and characteristically purposeful moving forward, in attempting to encourage those in front of him. "We have to be better than that," complained Celtic's Tony Mowbray later. But his criticism was not aimed at the likes of Fox.

DEFENDER JACK ROSS (St Mirren): His side may have lost to Celtic, but Ross was blameless in both goals and was entitled to expect better finishing from his strikers, who wasted several excellent crosses from the former Clyde Man, most notably when the profligate Billy Mehmet sclaffed a header wide from his colleague's service in the first half.

DEFENDER RICHARD FOSTER (Aberdeen): Unflashy he might be, but Foster has provided sterling service recently in bolstering the Dons' rearguard, following their miserable start to the season, and he was instrumental in thwarting Rangers, whether in blocking Kenny Miller's net-bound shot, or shepherding Kris Boyd out of the picture as the struggling homesters strove to break the deadlock in the closing stages of the match.

MIDFIELDER FRASER FYVIE (Aberdeen): The 16 year-old is displaying an impressive maturity in the SPL and was combative enough to incur the wrath of several opponents at Ibrox without losing his own cool. "Fraser has a long way to go in his career," said his approving manager, Mark McGhee, after the match. "But he put in the sort of performance today that I am sure would have got a lot more headlines if he was a Rangers player."

MIDFIELDER PADDY McCOURT (Celtic): He has been derided in some quarters as a show pony, but there was nothing agricultural about the manner in which McCourt pierced the St Mirren defence, as if the ball was tied to his foot, during his side's otherwise lacklustre 2-0 away victory. "I've still got a bit to go before I can consider myself a first-team regular," said McCourt. Perhaps so, but on this form, any defence will be worried by his presence.

MIDFIELDER MEROUANE ZEMMAMA (Hibernian): The little Moroccan internationalist marked his first start for the Edinburgh club in 17 months with a mesmerising exhibition of his myriad qualities, which was altogether too much for Motherwell, who slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Fir Park. Zemmama was the most influential player throughout the contest and fittingly supplied the coup de grace with a splendid goal from a wicked free kick.

MIDFIELDER JODY MORRIS (St Johnstone): The Perth-based Englishman must be wondering what he has to do to finish up on the winning side. Once again, he offered his side several telling contributions, but despite his efforts, Dundee United ended up with a 3-2 success to savour. It was harsh on Morris, who had been the star man in a packed midfield.

STRIKER MARCO PAIXAO (Hamilton): Life is going to be tough for Billy Reid's men, as autumn turns to winter, but Paixao demonstrated sufficient skilful touches in his team's 2-1 defeat at Tynecastle to suggest he can help them out of their difficulties. He scored once, conjured up another couple of opportunities for his colleagues and generally buzzed with purpose and menace as the visitors forlornly pursued a draw in a frantic finale.

STRIKER DEREK RIORDAN (Hibs): He courts controversy with his in-your-face approach to life in the spotlight, but the Hibs forward is clocking up an impressive goal ratio and added another in his club's triumph over Motherwell. He has the priceless knack of being in the right place at the right time and latched on to Liam Miller's pass to drive a shot home from a tight angle and give Hibs an advantage which they never surrendered.

STRIKER DAMIAN CASALINUOVO (Dundee United): The forward has just returned from a loan spell with Raith Rovers and stamped his imprint on proceedings by providing the wining goal in his side's 3-2 triumph over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. It wasn't an aesthetically pleasing strike, going in via a post, but the Argentinian posed a frequent threat to his opponents, who are now stranded at the bottom of the SPL table.

BAD WEEK WALTER SMITH (Rangers): Quite apart from receiving a four-match ban by the SFA, following his outburst at Rugby Park, the Rangers boss was forced to sit through another desperately unconvincing display from his team, who have failed to score in their last three SPL fixtures. Given that they now face Sevilla and Celtic during the next week, Smith needs his men to rediscover their scoring touch and he needs it quickly.

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