Gary: Derby win would be brilliant birthday gift

Gary Harkins celebrates his birthday today and insists he could not think of a better present than collecting three points against Renfrewshire rivals St Mirren.

With everyone’s focus on arrival of the New Year and 2018, for the Greenock-born midfielder, the beginning of January means another candle on the cake.

And the experienced Harkins admits he would love to mark turning 33 years old by beating his former club at Cappielow in front of the BBC Alba cameras this afternoon.

Speaking to media officer Jonathan Mitchell, he said: “St Mirren are on a great run of form and got a great result on Friday night against Dundee United, who I thought were a really good side when we played them.

“So they’ll be going into the game high looking to get the three points. But I think we’ve played well in the derbies this year and definitely deserved the win at home. Then we got a good draw away from home.

“I’m looking forward to it because I enjoy looking forward to playing against St Mirren as a local Greenock boy and with the atmosphere being great.

“It’s my birthday on the 2nd, so I’m looking forward to a good day and if we can get the three points it will be a good birthday present.

“Three points and I’ll be happy. We’re training tomorrow anyway, but if we lose against St Mirren I’ll not be leaving the house tonight!”

Spot on … Harkins has five goals in his last seven outings, starting with this derby penalty  © David Bell

The in-form midfielder has five goals in his last seven matches, four of which have come from the spot, and he joked he wouldn’t mind a goal from open play.

He laughed: “I’m really enjoying my football. It’s a really good group of lads; the manager is great, I’m learning a lot, and I’m enjoying the position I’m playing.

“The way the team is, everybody works hard and everybody plays for each other, and it’s great to be part of. I’ve scored a few recently, but to be fair, I’d like a wee goal in open play!

“But if we’re getting into good positions and boys are getting fouled, I’m happy step up and hit the penalties. I’m hitting them quite well the now, so long may that continue.”


Image (main): Ross Cameron

Image (inset): David Bell