St Mirren striker Billy Mehmet is looking to beat his goal tally from last season and is well on his way after scoring five of the six goals the Saints scored as they beat East Stirlingshire on Sunday. However, the shine was taken off the score as the minnows scored three in reply against the SPL opponents. Mehmet hit an 11-minute hat-trick at Ochilview before Shire dramatically levelledwith three goals in a similar period. However, the former Dunfermline forward struck again either side of the interval, and even had a goal disallowed, as Saints booked their place in the second round of the Co-operative Insurance Cuip. Mehmet said: "I'm obviously delighted with that and I just hope it puts me in good stead for the first game of the season. All I can aim to do is get more goals than last season. I got 12 last year and to get five straight away is good."
Mehmet and Michael Higdon formed a physically imposing frontline that home manager Jim McInally admitted his side could not handle. Gus MacPherson looks set to begin the season with the two giant strikers but he added that he would pick the players to suit the opposition with Craig Dargo and Dennis Wyness waiting in the wings. Mehmet added :"Whatever strikeforce the gaffer goes with you have just got to go out there and do your best. I enjoyed playing with Higgy but I like playing with Dargs as well. Hopefully I'm in the starting line-up for the first game but I need to keep my feet on the ground."
While MacPherson was delighted with his strikers, he felt the concession of three goals took the shine off the victory. Mehmet said: "I couldn't believe it when they scored the three goals. We slacked off a little bit and they came back into the game. We came in at half-time and the gaffer wasn't happy after conceding three goals in 20 minutes. That's not us but the way we bounced back, and to get another three goals, just shows what we have got. Hopefully with that we can go a long way this season and do better than last season."
McInally blamed himself for losing three early goals by being "too scared" and starting with one up front, but Stephen Maguire and Andy Rodgers, with a double, soon hit back when he changed his tactics. McInally said: "Once we went with two up, we played really well football-wise. It's very rare you can enjoy losing 6-3. I knew we would tire because that's only our second competitive game. We haven't got a ground so it's hard to get friendlies so we're a bit behind in fitness, but we kept passing it around."
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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