Javier Broto and Alen Orman are unlikely to trouble the compilers of the Rich List of Scottish Football, but they underlined on Saturday that the Old Firm do not have a monopoly of everything.
The Livingston goalkeeper and Hibernian's goal hero did not feature on the Scottish Premier League's top 20 earners, revealed in a Sunday tabloid, yet their sum total was enough to cancel out the most expensive assets Celtic and Rangers can afford.
Henrik Larsson's £36,000-a-week wages may have underwritten Celtic's success last season, but even he was eclipsed by Broto at Almondvale Stadium, where the Spaniard kept out the prolific Swede's penalty and ended the champions' 100 per-cent League record.
Tore Andre Flo – the highest-paid player in the SPL – was prevented from adding a win bonus to his weekly £38,000 pay cheque by Orman's stunning goal which earned Hibernian a 2-2 draw at Ibrox on Saturday evening.
Flo's fifth goal of the season had threatened to take Rangers back to the top of the table for the first time in a year – until Orman conjured up a goal that moved even Dick Advocaat to breathless admiration. "It was a goal in a million," the Rangers manager said of the 25-yard shot which ripped into the roof of Stefan Klos's net.
Orman, a Bosnian international, arrived at Easter Road during the summer from the Belgian side Antwerp for a mere £100,000. "That was the best goal of my career and I still can't believe it," said the wing-back, who sheepishly admitted that his celebrations - "I went a little crazy" - in running the length of the pitch to the Hibernian fans almost proved costly. "I didn't know the game had re-started," he explained.
Rangers will hope to have some of their other expensive employees back for the crucial Champions' League encounter with Fenerbahce in Istanbul on Wednesday. The SPL's third top earner, Ronald de Boer, did come off the bench to justify his £33,000 a week, and the Dutchman's experience will be crucial against the Turkish champions. However, it is in defence that Rangers continue to be short-changed, as Tom McManus showed with a stealthy finish which mocked the £27,000 a week paid to the Italian defender Lorenzo Amoruso.
Celtic have goals in the bank to draw on for the visit of Ajax on Wednesday, but Livingston are far less inclined to give anything away. The newly-promoted side inflicted the 0-0 draw they achieved at Ibrox a fortnight ago on the other half of the Old Firm.
Even when Gary Bollan's wreckless kick at Jackie McNamara with 15 minutes left brought a penalty and his own dismissal, Broto was equal to Larsson. "We have arrived on the scene now," declared Livingston manager Jim Leishman. "Expectation levels will go up with our fans but the honeymoon is probably over as far as the other sides are concerned, and we will find it tougher in games outwith the Old Firm."
Dundee United jumped into third place, courtesy of a 3-2 success over Dunfermline. Tannadice Park witnessed an absorbing encounter that saw Scott Thomson's double cancel out United's two-goal lead before Jim Hamilton did what Larsson could not and executed a late penalty.
Colin Cameron underlined his importance to Scotland ahead of the coming World Cup games with his third goal in four games to steer Hearts to a 3-1 win over Dundee at Tynecastle, while Aberdeen's goal drought ended with a 4-2 success at home to Motherwell.Reuse content