Clincher is child’s play for Buddies hero Foley
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.