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Oct 19, 2009

SPL Clydesdale Bank Team of the Week

GOALKEEPER
ROBERT OLEJNIK (Falkirk): It might seem strange to select a man whose side conceded more goals than anybody else in the SPL this weekend, but without Olejnik's splendid contribution, hapless Falkirk might have been seriously embarrassed on their own turf by St Mirren, rather than simply suffering a 3-1 defeat. On this viewing, a long, strenuous winter beckons for the keeper behind a patently struggling defence.

DEFENDER
SOL BAMBA (Hibernian): The Easter Road club have made a fine start to their SPL campaign and Bamba coped admirably with the threat of Kilmarnock's Kevin Kyle as Hibs earned a hard-fought 1-0 win. He wasn't flashy, but Bamba's resilience and refusal to get dragged into a scrap with his opponents were worthy of applause.

DEFENDER
MARK REYNOLDS (Motherwell): Jim Gannon's young band of brothers have shown maturity beyond their years and Reynolds was a rock-like pillar of assurance at the back as his team gained a draw at Parkhead, despite a ferocious assault from Celtic in the closing stages. Resolute and focused in his defensive chores, Reynolds wasn't distracted from his job while the hosts attempted to break the deadlock without success.

DEFENDER
GARRY KENNETH (Dundee United): The Tannadice youngster popped up in added time to seize an equaliser for Craig Levein's injury-ravaged side against Hamilton. Kenneth was also at the heart of a tenacious United performance, and was occasionally forced to dig deep, but demonstrated his fitness and poise under pressure.

MIDFIELDER
LIAM MILLER (Hibernian): The Hibs team is replete with attacking menace these days and Miller's move to Leith is paying dividends, both for himself and his manager, John Hughes. The hosts did just enough to edge out Kilmarnock at Easter Road and Miller was a constantly authoritative figure, even when some of his colleagues struggled.

MIDFIELDER
CHRIS HUMPHREY (Motherwell): The youngster was given a difficult job at Parkhead, asked both to curb Celtic's midfield threat, and lend support to Well's lone striker, Lucas Jutkiewicz, but he shone in both roles and was instrumental in creating a few chances for the visitors, while proving that he possessed the qualities to stifle the hosts.

MIDFIELDER
ANDY DORMAN (St Mirren): One of several Saints to prosper during the last few weeks, Dorman's contributions were significant in easing the visitors to a 3-1 success over Falkirk. He set up the first goal for Craig Dargo, was involved in the second, and his shot was the catalyst for Tom Brighton to apply the coup de grace.

MIDFIELDER
SASA PAPAC (Rangers): His team were flattered by their 2-1 victory over St Johnstone, but while Walter Smith's men were generally outplayed at McDiarmid Park, these are the kind of results which can help secure prizes. Papac was involved in creating the first goal for Kris Boyd, and then emerged to score the decider late in the proceedings, which helped restore Rangers' lead at the summit of the SPL.

STRIKER
COLLIN SAMUEL (St Johnstone): The Perth-based Trinidadian must be wondering how on earth he finished on the losing side on Saturday. A constant danger to the Rangers rearguard, he scored a terrific goal and subsequently sparked a number of opportunities for his teammates, which should have yielded greater reward for the hosts.

STRIKER
ANDREW DRIVER (Hearts): Given the fact this young man has seen his name splashed all over the Scottish press recently, in connection with a possible switch of allegiance from England to Scotland, Driver responded in the best possible fashion by grabbing an excellent goal during the Tynecastle club's 1-1 draw at Pittodrie. He also set up a wonderful late chance for David Obua, which was squandered.

STRIKER
LEE MILLER (Aberdeen): He has his detractors, but Miller was a tireless performer for the Dons throughout their draw with Hearts, both assisting his midfield in their chores, and ending his goal drought with a clinical header. "I could have had a hat-trick today, but the goals will come," he said with a relieved expression afterwards.

BAD WEEK
THE OLD FIRM: Considering they have been talking about little else but moving to England or an Atlantic League, one might have imagined that the Glasgow giants would swat aside their Scottish opponents this weekend, as confirmation they deserved elevation to a higher standard of competition. Instead, Rangers laboured to an unconvincing win over St Johnstone and Celtic fared even worse against Motherwell. On this evidence, they should forget about migrating and stick to improving their football.

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