Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, hailed the performance of Stefan Scougall following their draw at Oldham Athletic.
Scotland Under-21 international Scougall starred as United battled back from a goal down to secure a point at Boundary Park thanks to an 84th minute strike by Latics old boy Chris Porter.
It’s been a meteoric rise to prominence for Scougall. When he arrived for a six figure fee from Livingston in January, the midfielder was described as “one for the future” by Clough. However, Scougall has adjusted quickly to life in English football, delivering a string of impressive displays which have led to him becoming a first-team regular. He has featured frequently in United’s march up the League One table, making 16 starts and three substitute appearances in all competitions.
Speaking after their 1-1 draw at Oldham, which extended United’s unbeaten league run to seven matches, Clough said: “I thought he [Scougall] was the outstanding player on the pitch. He was full of drive and energy and wanted to go forward.
“Sometimes in these end-of-season games there’s a lack of sprinting, but Stefan sprinted until his lungs hurt.”
It is no secret the United chief wants to significantly bolster his forward department in the summer as he looks to turn them into serious promotion contenders. Clough’s priority is recruit a prolific centre-forward who can dovetail effectively with Scougall in the final third.
“We could do with somebody up front to get a hold of the ball,” he acknowledged. “We want to get somebody to play with Stefan.”
Defenders Neill Collins (ankle) and Matt Hill (calf) missed the trip to Oldham and Clough may resist the temptation to field the duo when they entertain Coventry City on Saturday in their final match of the campaign.
Clough felt his team got into several promising goal-scoring positions against the Latics but were let down by their final pass.
“Our first half felt end-of-season and was neither here nor there so I asked the players to step it up,” said Clough.
“We have been one nil down in the last two away matches and got four points but we should have had six.”
Oldham manager Lee Johnson was proud of his side’s display, saying: “United are a big club and I was pleased because we’re punching above our weight. They’re a giant and we’re a little gnome throwing a spear at them.”