SPL Team of the Week - January 4
ALLAN McGREGOR (Rangers): As Craig Levein mulls over his Scotland options, he can at least derive comfort from the magnificent save produced by McGregor to deny Georgios Samaras in the Old Firm match at Parkhead. The keeper was lucky that referee Steve Conroy ruled out Marc-Antoine Fortune's earlier effort, but without McGregor's subsequent heroics, Rangers would have lost.
LEE WALLACE (Hearts): It seemed as if he covered every blade of the Easter Road turf during a whole-hearted performance which allowed the visitors to earn a draw in the Edinburgh derby. Wallace both impressed in his defensive duties and further up the pitch, where his pace caused problems for John Hughes' side.
GLENN LOOVENS (Celtic): In the build-up to the Old Firm clash, the recent exploits of Kris Boyd had taken centre stage, even though the Rangers striker's record against Celtic is poor, to say the least. Loovens, oblivious to the headlines, kept Boyd out of the game and, in most other circumstances, would have done enough to earn his side victory.
DANNY WILSON (Rangers): Any teenager would be entitled to feel nervous in the cauldron of an Old Firm encounter, but if the 18-year-old was feeling any nerves, he kept them expertly concealed while covering for the absent Madjid Bougherra with a majestic display which enhanced his reputation and helped maintain his side's SPL lead.
AIDEN McGEADY (Celtic): The critics may carp that he squandered a glorious chance to push his team in front at Parkhead. But, for the rest of the proceedings, McGeady was in typically marauding form, and his speed, vision and desire orchestrated sufficient chances for his strikers without the latter being able to exploit them.
MEROUANE ZEMMAMA (Hibs): The little man's ball control and mazy running are reminiscent of some of the traditional Scottish "tanner-ba" players and he posed constant problems for Hearts during a feisty, controversy-littered contest in Leith. Zemmama's showing would have gained greater rewards, but for the hosts' last-ditch defending.
MICHAEL STEWART (Hearts): His team are now on something of a roll, following an inauspicious start to their SPL campaign, and Stewart recovered from needing treatment in the first half to play a leading role in the majority of his side's best efforts, during their 1-1 draw with Hibernian. His late booking was the only blot on his afternoon.
LANDRY N'GUEMO (Celtic): He and Marc Crosas combined well to ensure that Celtic won control of the midfield in the Old Firm derby and, on this evidence, N'Guemo will be missed by thre Celts during his absence at the African Nations Cup. Ironically, though, despite his domination over the likes of Lee McCulloch, it was the latter who emerged with a late goal to steal a priceless point for the visitors.
ANTHONY STOKES (Hibs): The Irishman has proved one of the SPL's canniest acquisitions and he maintained his recent form with a clinical equalising goal at Easter Road. Stokes posed menace for his rivals throughout the game and required Hearts to dig deep to prevent him adding to his tally during a frenetic climax.
GORDON SMITH (Hearts): This column does its best to highlight promising young Scots - even if it annoys those Old Firm fans burdened with tunnel vision - and Smith marked his SPL debut by scoring a quite magnificent goal, in addition to exhibiting plenty of promise and commitment. Still only 18 he has talent to burn.
SCOTT McDONALD (Celtic): The whisper is that the Australian is bound for Middlesbrough, but, in the meantime, Celtic were indebted to McDonald for breaking the deadlock against Rangers with a characteristically efficient finish. It's not his fault that he wasn't on from the start. If he had been, his team would probably have won.
DUNDEE UNITED: A few weeks ago, they seemed capable of mounting a sustained challenge to the Old Firm. Now, after losing manager, Craig Levein, United have suffered a slump in their fortunes; they were hammered 7-1 at Ibrox last Wednesday and slipped to a 1-0 home defeat against 10-man Aberdeen on Saturday.