OBIKA’S COME­BACK KINGS

Brace hero says spirit in train­ing in­spired him

Evening Times - - SPORT - NICK RODGER

WITH reg­u­lar show­ers of rain driv­ing in, a gust­ing, chilly wind swirling about and the kind of grisly tem­per­a­ture that al­most led to the shiv­er­ing fitba’ scrib­blers ap­ply­ing lag­ging to their lap­tops, this was a tough old day in Pais­ley.

Given the gen­eral con­di­tions, you had to give credit to both sets of play­ers for pro­vid­ing a spec­ta­cle that may not have been ooz­ing with in­ven­tion but had plenty of ad­mirable, tena­cious in­dus­try. What else would you ex­pect from Scot­tish foot­ball in the depths of De­cem­ber? Thanks to a brace from Jon Obika, St Mir­ren showed con­sid­er­able re­solve to claw them­selves back from 3-1 down to grab a de­served draw.

In the end, a share of the spoils was about right. Hav­ing wiped out the two-goal deficit, Obika gave a lit­tle in­sight into the fight­ing qual­i­ties that have been in­stilled into the St Mir­ren ranks by the man­ager Jim Good­win. Given Good­win’s own com­bat­ive char­ac­ter, you wouldn’t ex­pect any­thing else.

“In train­ing, there are times in the five-a-side games when a team is maybe 4-1 down and the gaffer is re­ally push­ing that team to try and fight back,” said the 29-year-old Obika.

“He be­lieves the team can still win and it ac­tu­ally hap­pened in train­ing not so long ago. I feel the boys may have drawn from that ex­pe­ri­ence in train­ing and were able to get a good re­sult against Liv­ingston.”

St Mir­ren had con­ceded a poor sec­ond goal right on half-time and then fell fur­ther be­hind not long af­ter the re­sump­tion but, with their backs against the wall, St Mir­ren came out fight­ing and Obika’s dou­ble sal­vaged a draw.

“In the end, I felt as though the point was de­served,” added Obika, whose good day at the of­fice also in­cluded an as­sist for St Mir­ren’s open­ing goal. “We lost a sloppy goal just

Ev­ery­one is on the same wave length

be­fore half-time and I felt that pushed the boys to start sharp in the sec­ond half.

“Af­ter that third goal, most peo­ple would have thought we were dead and buried, but we kept push­ing and were able to get a point. As a striker, get­ting the goals and the as­sists are the ic­ing on the cake.”

Obika be­gan his ca­reer with Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and has been around the houses on a va­ri­ety of loan deals as well as more pro­longed stints at Swin­don and Ox­ford. St Mir­ren is suit­ing him down to a tee.

“It’s the first time I’ve been at a club where ev­ery­one is on the same wave length,” he said. “From the man­age­ment and down to the chefs, it’s a real fam­ily club. You want to do the best for them.”

While Obika dou­bled up for St Mir­ren, Liv­ingston’s as­sault was spear­headed by Ay­men Souda who notched a brace of his own. Those were his first goals in the league this season.

“It hasn’t seemed to be work­ing for him in the league be­cause those are his first goals but you could see that he has the qual­ity to make things hap­pen,” said his team­mate, Steven Law­less. “He has that in his locker and long may it con­tinue be­cause if he’s do­ing that and we’re get­ting goals from all through the team, it can only help us. He hasn’t been putting in bad per­for­mances but he just hasn’t been fin­ish­ing the way we know he can do.

“Hope­fully, he can build on this dis­play be­cause he cer­tainly brings some­thing dif­fer­ent to the team.”

Jon Obika in­spired St Mir­ren to claw back a two-goal deficit to Liv­ingston, with the striker grab­bing a sec­ond-half brace

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