Caolan Boyd-Munce hit a stunning winner as St Mirren progressed to the last eight of the Scottish League Cup following their 1-0 win at home to fellow Scottish Premiership side Motherwell at the weekend.
It was the 23-year-old’s first goal for the Paisley outfit since joining Stephen Robinson’s side back in March and his man-of-the-match performance earned high praise from assistant boss Diarmuid O’Carroll.
“Caolan came in as a bit of a project for us,” admitted O’Carroll. “He had bounced around the academies a little bit, but he was a really high prospect who probably hadn’t played that many first team games.
“But you see his ability from deliveries and in open play. He’s getting fitter and getting sharper and quicker. Defensively he is learning, too. I thought he was fantastic today and he deserved man of the match.”
O’Carroll also had some positive words for Boyd-Munce’s team-mate Conor McMenamin who arrived at St Mirren in a high profile move from Glentoran over the summer.
“Conor is settling in well and his quality is clear for everyone to see,” said the former Cliftonville and Crusaders striker. “Motherwell set up in a way to try and stop Conor and after two or three league games for that to be the case is a real compliment for him.
“He’s another one who I think can kick on to another level and then we’ll be trying to keep a hold of him because he is that good.”
Elsewhere in the Scottish League Cup, Liam Boyce came off the bench in Hearts' 4-0 victory over Partick Thistle, while Kilmarnock ended up with four Northern Ireland players on the pitch in the shape of Brad Lyons, Matty Kennedy, Liam Donnelly and Kyle Vassell as they knocked out holders Celtic by a single goal at Rugby Park.
Also finding the net over the weekend were former under-21 international JJ McKiernan, who scored his first goal for Morecambe as they recorded a 3-0 victory at home to Bradford City, and AFC Wimbledon defender Ryan Johnson who also played at under-21 level for Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, in the Championship, Jordan Thompson earned his first start of the league campaign as Stoke City defeated Watford 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium and Daniel Ballard and Trai Hume both played the full 90 minutes as Sunderland picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 success over Rotherham United.
There was an impressive first league start for Shea Charles who was awarded Man of the Match in Southampton's win over Plymouth.
On a positive note for international boss Michael O’Neill, Portsmouth’s Paddy Lane made his first appearance of the new season after being used as a late substitute against Cheltenham Town and Jordan Jones was back in the Wigan squad after recovering from a calf complaint.
In the U18 Premier League there was a debut for former Linfield player Cole Brannigan who came on as a substitute for Aston Villa in their 2-0 win against Southampton, while another ex-Blues man, Callum Marshall, fired home his first goal of the new term as West Ham United U21s beat Sunderland 2-0.
Finally, Conor Washington was back in Derby County’s starting line-up and provided the assist for their winning goal against Fleetwood Town on Saturday.