Peebles Rovers 3

Stirling University 2

By Neil Hobson

at Whitestone Park

PEEBLES Rovers got their league campaign back on track last Saturday as they overcame a gritty Stirling University.

Alan McMath was the hat-trick hero for Ger Rossi’s side, as his three strikes bagged all three points.

The heroic showing from the former Leithen Rovers man comes after just a couple of months after a lengthy lay-off due to a serious knee injury.

McMath's hat-trick marked his first goals of the new campaign, with Rossi over the moon at his striker's performance.

Speaking to the Peeblesshire News, Rossi said: “I’m delighted for the wee man, Alan gives us the same every week and for him to finally get off the mark with a fantastic hat-trick was brilliant.

“Nobody deserves it more than him, and now, this is hopefully a great platform for him to kick on from going forward.”

McMath couldn’t have picked a better time to open his goal-scoring account.

Barely two minutes had registered on the clock before, on the back of an excellent Colin Smith cross, he stabbed home past John Allan from close-range to catapult the Rovers into the lead.

Rovers had the Students on the back-foot during the early stages.

Robbie Renwick was at his menacing best, testing his marker with sublime footwork and movement.

It seemed as though Rossi’s side were set to dominate, but, bizarrely, a brief lapse ensued as the Rovers succumbed to a quick-fire double.

Michael Barber had tested Cameron Hanratty in the Peebles goal with a thunderous free-kick.

And it was a precursor to the ferocious Stirling attacks that were to follow.

From the resulting David Beaton corner, Malcolm Burgess burst through a packed goalmouth to prod the ball past Hanratty on 36 minutes.

The equaliser stunned Rovers and the Students took full advantage by pouncing on the shell-shocked defence.

Angus Dey galloped forward from midfield, skipping past the defence before unleashing a cool strike from 10-yards out that sneaked into the bottom-left corner.

Following that quick-fire double, Rovers fell apart defensively as panic took over.

However, McMath soon came to the rescue, capitalising on his natural pace to race through the Stirling defence.

Taking a moment to compose himself, McMath, struck the ball with precision from the right-hand edge of the box.

The goal was a minor masterpiece as his effort zoomed into the top-right corner, handing the Rovers a lifeline going into half time.

The second-half was more of a battle compared to the first, with Rovers midfielder Ross Lamb sent-off on 72 minutes.

Lamb appeared to do little else than protest an offside call, but it was enough for the referee to hand out a second yellow card.

McMath, though, was once again the hero.

The 29-year-old was destined to get that hat-trick.

And exploding into life like a shot of lightening, he carved through the defence before tucking the ball away to seal all three points.

Peebles: C Hanratty, J Dodds, C Smith, R Lamb, G Rossi, Renwick (G Lamb 57), R Forrest, A McMath, J Mackay, B Brown (M McEwan 45) & Lindsay. Unused subs: M Cockburn & L Zavaroni.