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SPL Team of the Week - December 27


TOMAS CERNY (Hamilton): His side might have finished up on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat at Parkhead, but the Czech did his utmost to keep Tony Mowbray's personnel at bay, producing a string of fine saves to deny the likes of Aiden McGeady and Danny Fox and ensure that Celtic couldn't breathe easily until their 90th-minute winner.

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JOSE GONCALVES (Hearts): Gradually, the Jambos are hauling themselves up the SPL table and the efforts of such solid citizens as Goncalves are making them increasingly difficult to beat. The Portuguese both won his side the decisive penalty in their hard-fought 1-0 win over Falkirk and was a pillar of solidity as they repelled their opponents.

MADJID BOUGHERRA (Rangers): The Algerian is now heading off to compete in the African Nations Cup and one suspects Walter Smith will be aggrieved that he is entering a massive Old Firm match without Bougherra, who characteristically oozed class and penetration throughout Rangers' emphatic 4-1 demolition of Hibs at Easter Road.

RYAN O'LEARY (Kilmarnock): Jim Jefferies' team find themselves embroiled in a relegation battle which is likely to stretch throughout the winter, but O'Leary exhibited the sort of robust, redoubtable defending which his team will require, while helping Kilmarnock secure a valuable draw against Dundee United at Tannadice.


AIDEN McGEADY (Celtic): He is maintaining a standard of excellence not matched by several of his Parkhead colleagues and although McGeady had to battle to escape the attentions of stuffy Hamilton, his industry and dedication to the cause ultimately bore fruit. Celtic require him to be at his best for next weekend's Old Firm derby.

STEVEN DAVIS (Rangers): He has become almost an automatic selection in these weekly line-ups and reinforced that favourable impression by seizing control of the midfield battle with Hibs in Edinburgh. Davis hardly ever wastes possession and nags away at opponents like a toothache, as John Hughes' men discovered to their cost.

MICHAEL STEWART (Hearts): Another solid citizen who seems capable of ignoring the negativity around him - many Tynecastle fans remain critical of Hearts and manager, Csaba Lazslo, despite a recent improvement in results - Stewart converted the penalty which sufficed to beat Falkirk and generally bristled with purpose and endeavour.

CHRIS MILLAR (St Johnstone): Some people thought that the Perth club were destined for relegation but they have risen to the challenge of confounding the sceptics as they showed while recording a convincing 3-1 win over Motherwell. Millar was in rampaging form during the triumph and conjured up all three of Peter MacDonald's goals.


KENNY MILLER (Rangers): The Ibrox man is on fire at the moment and seized his third consecutive brace of goals in the demolition of Hibs. Understandably, his confidence is sky high, as he illustrated in the clinical manner with which he punished the Easter Road backline. Miller will be looking to extend his streak through to the New Year.

PETER MacDONALD (St Johnstone): The Saints forward carved out a little piece of history by becoming his club's first player to score an SPL hat-trick - against Motherwell - and his opportunism and sharpness were too much for a struggling Fir Park rearguard as Derek McInnes' side rallied impressively from trailing 1-0 at the halfway stage.

KRIS BOYD (Rangers): He still faces accusations that he is merely a poacher, but Boyd is prepared to work to create chances for those around him and demonstrated that part of his game in unleashing Kenny Miller at the Hibs defence. Boyd scored as well, and seems likely to return to the Scotland ranks with the appointment of Craig Levein.


EDDIE MAY (Falkirk): Following another underwhelming home defeat, the Falkirk manager must be wondering where the goals are coming from to steer his charges away from the bottom of the SPL table. On Saturday morning, a willing band of his club's supporters put in a sterling shift to clear masses of snow from around the stadium. But, in the event, the fans must have wondered whether their time might have been better occupied enjoying a festive tipple at local drinking hole, Behind the Wall.


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