WITH no West of Scotland Football league action in the area, fans will have had to look elsewhere for their football fix this weekend.

Though there was no better advert for the league than at The Stadium of Light, where an ex-Kilwinning Rangers and Ardeer Thistle star was in the spotlight for Sunderland.

As recently as 2016, Ross Stewart was playing for Kilwinning Rangers in the then Junior Football ranks, having spent time prior to this with Stevenston side Ardeer Thistle.

A move to Albion Rovers followed, before stints at St Mirren, Alloa and Ross County. Stewart was prolific for the latter - which earned him a £450,000 move to Sunderland in 2021.

Hailed the ‘Loch Ness Drogba’ by fans, Stewart has asserted himself as a vital part of Sunderland’s revival - which saw the former Premier League side return to the Championship last season, after four seasons in League One.

And upon their return to England’s second tier, the Black Cats have certainly impressed, with Tony Mowbray’s side well in the hunt for a play-off spot, and chance to return to the big time.

Stewart has had a big say in all of this - which was evidenced perfectly in Sunday’s Tees-Wear derby against fellow play-off hopefuls and the league’s in-form side Middlesbrough.

The Scotland international looked to have got his side ahead in the first half of the match - turning home the rebound from a Patrick Roberts effort, only for Sunderland’s leading scorer to be rightly flagged offside.

He was then presented with a perfect opportunity to put his side ahead, in the match’s defining moment early in the second half.

Boro defender Fry was caught on the wrong side as Stewart broke clear again and panicked as he bundled the striker to the floor - resulting in a red card for the defender and a penalty to Sunderland.

Though the visiting goalkeeper Steffen made a superb save to deny Stewart from the spot, the Scot was not to be denied from the rebound, which he tapped home.

And Stewart’s side held on against amid a Boro fightback, before former Rangers loanee Amad settled things with an 81st minute strike - securing a 2-0 win for Sunderland, three points, and the all important derby bragging rights in England’s north-east.