Dunfermline Athletic manager James McPake hopes Craig Wighton can ‘build’ on his dramatic equaliser against Arbroath.
The former Dundee and Hearts striker’s 91st-minute goal at Gayfield took his tally to a modest five for the season in the SPFL Championship.
Despite that putting him top of the Pars’ scoring charts in the league, McPake believes the 26-year-old will be ‘frustrated’ by his numbers so far this term.
Saturday’s strike against Arbroath drew the curtain down on a spell that Wighton himself branded ‘horrendous’ due to illness.
And McPake was thrilled to see the marksman summon enough energy for a close-range header that proved the marksman can be clinical as well as eye-catching.
He said: “I’ve seen Craig score some brilliant goals. In my time here, he’s scored some brilliant goals and I’ve seen it obviously since he’s been a kid.
“But sometimes you don’t see the goals that maybe don’t catch the eye.
“I thought Saturday’s was a really good goal; a set-play and he gets up. Even his header at Dundee United, we forget just how good Craig can be in the air as well.
“I think, just off the back of the illness, Saturday’s goal probably would have meant a lot.
“Everyone gets ill at times, at this time of the year in particular. But he was floored with that. Speaking to him most days, he sounded terrible.
“I know he won’t thank me for saying it, but he didn’t look great, in terms of the way he normally is. He had no energy, nothing, even in training.
“That week, he hadn’t done much at all. So, there was no way we could have put him on for a long period of time – and that did drain him.
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“It just shows you the effect that had on him, but I’m delighted for him that he got the goal.”
He added: “I think he’ll be frustrated with his numbers because he’s had opportunities. But his all-round play has actually been good.
“Obviously, as strikers, a lot of the time, you’re judged on goals. So, it’s an important one for him, and he’ll look to build on that, I’m sure.”
Dunfermline were heading for defeat in Angus until Wighton struck in injury-time.
And, ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Ayr United, McPake has confessed it was a badly-needed intervention.
He added: “It was really good, and an important goal as well, that late in the game when we’re chasing it.
“He also got the two against Arbroath, in the 3-0 win [on November 28], and I was really delighted with those goals as well.”