ALAN MCMATH walked off the Whitestone Park pitch on Saturday, match ball in hand, as a renewed player.

And the former Leithen Rovers hit-man believes he’s finally getting back to his fearsome best after a miserable start to the season.

McMath scored a fantastic hat-trick as Peebles Rovers defeated Stirling University 3-2.

It was an individual performance that showcased all his talents.

But the striker has endured a rough time recently, missing a big chunk of football last year after damaging his knee.

The new season had offered scant consolation for McMath, with his only goal coming against Leith back in July.

But, following Saturday’s heroics, he’s looking forward to kicking-on with his team-mates.

Speaking to the Peeblesshire News, he said; “I was absolutely delighted to get the hat-trick.

"I do feel that it’s been a long-time coming; in previous games this season, I could easily have gotten three or four- which made today even better.

“At the end of it all, I owe those goals to my team-mates. It certainly doesn’t reflect purely on me. It was a huge performance from the lads.

“It’s a huge testament to them that they were able to turn the negatives from last week into a hugely positive performance on the park against a good Stirling side.”

McMath’s typically livewire performances made his dry spell in front of goal all the more puzzling, with the man himself saying that a lack of confidence was behind the drought.

He explained: “I’ve definitely been feeling down over the past few weeks. In those last few matches, I’ve missed chances that I would typically score.

"As a striker, when you’re missing opportunities that you’d normally tuck away, it does start to weigh on your mind.

But, going forward, hopefully that confidence is starting to come back and I can start hitting the back of the net regularly again.”

Sitting on the side-lines, he was forced to watch team-mate Saul Schulz-Keith scoop the top-goal scorer award at the club’s presentation night, with McMath desperate to challenge for the golden boot.

He added: “I’m certainly looking to challenge this year!

“As a striker, if you only get between one and seven goals - it’s a bit of a disgrace, shall we say.

“You’ve got to be looking to get well into double figures, maybe even the 20s. I’d like to think I could still do that anyway.”