SPL Team of the Week - January 31
JOHN RUDDY (Motherwell): The 'keeper has been in terrific form - amidst the Fir Park side's recent revival under that beetle-browed fount of managerial wisdom, Craig Brown - and the redoubtable English recruit kept another clean sheet by producing a string of good saves as Motherwell routed Aberdeen 3-0 at Pittodrie.
BRIAN EASTON (Hamilton): This fellow must be wondering what he has to do to finish on the winning side. Despite showing plenty of skill, physical presence and application in the SPL of late, he once more endured a narrow loss as Celtic secured a precious 1-0 victory at New Douglas Park. It wasn't Easton's fault that his team missed out.
CRAIG BRYSON (Kilmarnock): On a madcap afternoon at Rugby Park, the hosts and Dundee United shared eight goals and there were myriad other opportunities. It wasn't a day for defenders, but Bryson proffered a sterling contribution for his employers with a fabulous individual goal in addition to providing the crosses for two of the others.
DANNY GRAINGER (St Johnstone): The Perth-based club haven't always earned the rewards their sweeping play has merited in this campaign, but they were worth all three points after beating Hearts. Grainger both set up the goal for Kenny Deuchar then, as the visitors chased the game, he made a great clearing header to deny Gordon Smith.
LIAM MILLER (Hibs): An industrious talent with a priceless knack for finding the net, Miller was in the thick of another smash-and-grab raid for John Hughes' men, who earned a last-gasp victory over St Mirren following a defeat of Celtic at the death. Miller scored Hibs' equaliser in the first half and generally bristled with purpose.
STEVEN DAVIS (Rangers): The youngster has emerged as one of the Ibrox club's pivotal performers during recent weeks and his excellence was too much for hapless Falkirk, amidst their 3-0 defeat. Davis scored one and was involved in the build-up to the other two and his manager Walter Smith said afterwards: "If there is a better player in the country at the moment, then I have yet to see him." Praise indeed!
LANDRY NGUEMO (Celtic): With Aiden McGeady's form having dipped in 2010, Celtic have struggled to impose themselves in midfield, but Nguemo showed what they have been missing while he has been otherwise engaged at the African Nations Cup with a commanding performance against Hamilton, as he exhibited both his ability to break up play and create chances further upfield.
JIM O'BRIEN (Motherwell): One of a number of personnel to regularly gain favourable reviews in the SPL, O'Brien served up his latest fine display this season as the catalyst for his team's 3-0 away victory over Aberdeen. The Dons have been keen to sign him in the past; on this showing, Mark McGhee will surely be begging his board for funds.
JOHN SUTTON (Motherwell): The Englishman has had his problems this year but when fully fit, he is capable of proving a handful for any defence and his direct approach was altogether too potent for Aberdeen, who were twice undone by Sutton in the 29th and 52nd minutes as they slipped to an emphatic defeat.
MORTEN RASMUSSEN (Celtic): The Danish extrovert only arrived on the pitch after 64 minutes, but immediately unveiled the spark which had been missing earlier and broke the deadlock within a twinkling of his entrance. "He doesn't make the most beautiful goals, but he will fight for the team and for the goals," said his manager, Tony Mowbray. Celtic fans won't be worried how he scores as long as he scores.
JOHN FLECK (Rangers): One man's misfortune is another man's chance in football, as in life, and the Ibrox teenager has responded superbly to winning a regular starting berth in the absence of Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller. Fleck possesses lofty ambitions and enhanced his reputation with a fine all-round outing - and a goal - against Falkirk.
HEARTS: More than a few eyebrows were raised when the cash-strapped Edinburgh club announced the departure of Csaba Laszlo on Friday without offering any thanks for his efforts in improving their fortunes during the last 18 months. That was followed by Jim Jefferies being appointed as his successor with indecent haste a few hours later, whereupon the Jambos slumped to defeat at McDiarmid Park on Saturday.