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SPL Team of the Week - April 25


PAUL GALLACHER (St Mirren): The Scotland international keeper was in majestic, they-shall-not-pass mood when Kevin Kyle and his Kilmarnock colleagues tried and failed to snatch a share of the spoils during a frantic finale. The Saints have almost secured their SPL safety and Gallacher's contribution has been immense.


ANDREAS HINKEL (Celtic): Amidst the litany of problems that have afflicted the Hoops this season - some self-inflicted, others as a consequence of injury - Hinkel's quiet composure and industrious execution of his duties have been admirable. Once again, he was an assured presence in his team's convincing triumph against Dundee United.

LEE MAIR (St Mirren): Gus MacPherson's side emerged with a priceless 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers, Kilmarnock, and Mair, a tower of assurance and rugged determination in the rearguard throughout the contest, stood up magnificently to the task of stemming the threat of the latter's human wrecking-ball, Kevin Kyle.

DAVID WEIR (Rangers): The veteran must have a picture of himself rotting away in an attic somewhere, as he continues to defy Old Father Time. It wasn't just his defensive qualities which shone against Hibs, but also Weir's unquenchable commitment to surging forward at every opportunity. It's scarcely believable that he turns 40 next month.


GILES COKE (Motherwell): The youngster has been an impressive performer all year in a good campaign for the Fir Park personnel and his abrasive, in-your-face philosophy - which extended to him squaring up briefly to his team mate, Steve Jennings - proved pivotal as his side recorded a deserved 2-0 success over Hearts at Tynecastle.

AIDEN McGEADY (Celtic): The Republic of Ireland international was full of running, vision and penetration in his club's win at Tannadice and created a string of chances, which should have led to a more emphatic victory. He eventually won the penalty, from which Robbie Keane applied the coup de grace, and the question now has to be whether McGeady remains at Parkhead or pursues a new challenge in England.

JIM O'BRIEN (Motherwell): Craig Brown's return to the managerial ranks has prompted a revival for the Steelmen and O'Brien has been one of the major beneficiaries. A redoubtable character, he was grittily imperious against Hearts, discomfiting the Edinburgh men time after time and they just couldn't cope with him and Coke.

MAURICE EDU (Rangers): The Ibrox men were nowhere near their best whilst wrapping up the title with a 1-0 defeat of Hibs, but were bolstered by the likes of Edu, who worked tirelessly for the cause, and never contemplated taking a backward step. The American's return from injury happened at exactly the right time for Walter Smith.


MARCO PAIXAO (Hamilton): Billy Reid's collective have done a marvellous job to preserve their place in the SPL and the tireless Paixao helped ensure they gained another important victory over Falkirk on Saturday. At times, he seemed to be taking on the Bairns by himself and his clinical finish helped deepen the home side's woes.

KYLE LAFFERTY (Rangers): His post-goal antics - resembling Peter Crouch's robotic dance, minus any semblance of irony or choreography - have predictably earned the Irishman derision, but neither he nor Walter Smith will be bothered by the jibes. Rangers needed an early lead to settle their nerves at Easter Road and Lafferty popped up with his third strike in four matches to seal their 53rd SPL title.

DEREK RIORDAN (Hibs): His side are on the crest of a slump at the moment, but Riordan, who is attracting interest from plenty of other clubs, was one of the few Easter Road stars to shine against Rangers. He generated several chances for his confreres and was unlucky not to be rewarded with a penalty in the second half.


JOHN HUGHES (Hibs): A season which started so brightly for the Leith-based organisation is crashing to earth like Icarus. They briefly threatened to spoil Rangers' title-winning party, but squandered several fine chances, couldn't make home advantage pay and have only won two of their last 15 league matches, which is relegation form.


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