Interview: Stephen Mallan


By James Hunter
Stephen Mallan says he is looking forward to St Mirren taking on Albion Rovers this weekend in the IRN-BRU Cup. St Mirren enter at the third round stage of the revamped competition and have been drawn away to League One Albion at the Exsel Group Stadium. Midfielder Mallan believes that cup competition will take minds off the Championship for a weekend and could be a good opportunity to boost the morale of not just the players, but the supporters too.
“It takes your mind off the league,” he said. “We did that last season in the cup games when we were slow to start but when we got back into the league we were flying. It’ll give us a wee bit of a distraction and hopefully we can go into that game and get a win.”
The Buddies made it to the semi-finals of the competition last season and picked up an excellent 4-0 win over then League One side Dunfermline on the way amidst a difficult start to the league campaign. Mallan scored two goals that day and believes they can try to use the cup to help give something back to the supporters.
He said: “If we get a good cup run and get a good few wins under our belt it’ll boost the team’s confidence and the morale of the fans. You can see they’re down just now, with our performances, and rightly so because we’ve not been up to scratch so it’s something we need to help for ourselves and for the club as a whole.”
Mallan admitted that St Mirren were fortunate to gain a point against Ayr United in the Ladbrokes Championship on Saturday after substitute Tom Walsh scored a late equaliser for the Buddies.
“We were lucky to salvage a point with Tom,” he said. “It was a good goal for him but the full game as a whole we should have done a lot better – especially in the first half where we started slow in the game.”
However, he does believe that the late goal can help kick start the season. Walsh nodded home from a Lawrence Shankland throw-in and Mallan feels that a moment like that can help provide a spark for the Saints to push on.
He said: “Yeah obviously it can lift the spirits. You can see we were kind of struggling for a goal and the fans weren’t happy but it gives them something to talk about on the way home as a point is better than nothing. Obviously we want the three points but Saturday wasn’t the day, but we’re always fighting till the last minute and because we got the goal you can see the fight in the team so hopefully we can take that into next week.”
Mallan has been impressed by the way both Walsh and Walsh’s fellow loanee Ryan Hardie have settled in to the club since joining on loan from Rangers this summer.
“They’ve done very well,” he said. “Obviously they know each other very well, they’ve linked up well and you can see the quality they’ve both got. It’s good that they’ve come in and we just need to try and give them the ball because they are both good ball players. We need to try and supply Ryan a lot more I’d say, get him a few goals and if Walshy is playing, you can see on Saturday that he’s come on, changed the game and got a goal.”
Supporters will be able to pay-at-the-gate on Saturday with adult tickets costing £10 and concessions and children’s tickets costing £5.