Clincher is child’s play for Bud­dies hero Fo­ley

Scottish Daily Mail - - The Verdict - BRIAN MARJORIBAN­KS

ST MIR­REN match­win­ner Sam Fo­ley could have done worse than en­list the help of his three-year-old daugh­ter in pick­ing his num­bers for Sat­ur­day night’s £25mil­lion lot­tery draw.

Af­ter all, young Caoimhe had just been proven right in her bold pre-match pre­dic­tion that her dad, who had never be­fore hit the net for the Bud­dies, was des­tined to score against Ross County.

Sure enough, with just two min­utes re­main­ing, Fo­ley’s 20-yard thun­der­ball ripped into the roof of the High­landers’ net.

It paid out to the tune of three points, lift­ing Jim Good­win’s Saints off the foot of the ta­ble.

‘My daugh­ter Caoimhe is only three but she told me I was go­ing to score on Sat­ur­day. I am glad she was right,’ said Fo­ley, with his daugh­ter by his side in the St Mir­ren me­dia room.

‘It wasn’t a bad way to open my ac­count but the most im­por­tant thing was get­ting the three points.’

How­ever, it looked like a fourth con­sec­u­tive de­feat could be on the cards for the hosts when County took a first-half lead.

Af­ter trad­ing passes with Billy Mckay, Brian Gra­ham curled home a fine goal from 20 yards with the out­side of his right foot.

It then took a fine save from Saints keeper Va­clav Hladky to stop Mckay mak­ing it 2-0.

But the home side were level just be­fore the break. As Ryan Flynn was fouled in the box and Gary MacKen­zie also tum­bled to the turf, ref­eree Euan An­der­son thought about whether or not to give a penalty. Sean McLough­lin spared him the de­ci­sion by prod­ding the ball home.

St Mir­ren to­tally dom­i­nated the sec­ond half but their fin­ish­ing was rash and waste­ful. Af­ter Ilkay Dur­mus swiped at the ball and missed com­pletely, Good­win, in the home dugout, booted a hole in an ad­ver­tis­ing board.

But then came the late win­ner to lift his spir­its af­ter Kyle McAl­lis­ter fed fel­low sub Tony An­dreu, who showed great aware­ness to play the ball into the path of Fo­ley.

The 33-year-old steered a won­der­ful left-footed drive into the top-left corner of the net to set­tle the game.

Amid a ca­reer that has seen stops at New­port County, Yeovil Town, Port Vale and Northamp­ton, Fo­ley (below) has clearly fallen for the au­then­tic­ity of Scot­tish foot­ball.

‘It was some­thing new for me, com­ing up here in the sum­mer, but I am lov­ing it,’ he said.

‘Scot­tish foot­ball is so in­tense. I think it is a throw­back to what English foot­ball used to be like.

‘There is so much money down there now and it’s so in your face all the time.

‘But Scot­tish foot­ball is work­ing class and it means so much to peo­ple. I can re­late to that be­cause I am like that too.

‘I know I am priv­i­leged and lucky to be in this job. Now all our fo­cus turns to fac­ing Hibs back here on Tues­day night.

‘We all want to get an­other win un­der our belts.’

But these are wor­ry­ing times for Ross County, who have now not won a match in eight at­tempts. Their last three points came in a 2-1 vic­tory at Mother­well back on Septem­ber 21.

And up next is the small mat­ter of the visit to Ding­wall of Celtic next Sun­day.

But, af­ter his side dropped out of the top six, vet­eran striker Mckay is not for push­ing the panic but­ton just yet.

‘Yes, we face Celtic next but we want to be in this league and we know ev­ery game is go­ing to be tough,’ he said.

‘We have not been on the best run but we are still in a de­cent po­si­tion. I think if we ended the sea­son in this po­si­tion (sev­enth), we would be happy. ‘We’ve just got to try and get that next win and go on a lit­tle run again.’

ST MIR­REN (4-4-2): Hladky 7; P McGinn 6, MacKen­zie 6, McLough­lin 6, Wa­ters 6; Dur­mus 6 (S McGinn 90), Ma­gen­nis 6 (McAl­lis­ter 75), Fo­ley 7, Flynn 7; Mullen 5 (An­dreu 58), Obika 6. Subs not used: Ly­ness, Mo­rais, Cooke, MacPher­son. Booked: Fo­ley. ROSS COUNTY (4-4-2): Bax­ter 6; Fraser 6, Mor­ris 6, Fon­taine 6, Kelly 6; Ste­wart 5 (Spit­tal 58), Spence 5 (Chalmers 71), Hen­der­son 6, Mullin 6; Mckay 6; Gra­ham 6 (Er­win 78). Subs not used: Laid­law, Wat­son, Foster, Pa­ton. Booked: Mor­ris, Fon­taine, Fraser, Gra­ham.

Man of the match: Sam Fo­ley. Ref­eree: Euan An­der­son. At­ten­dance: 4,708.

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