Gary MacKenzie earned personal redemption and what could prove a crucial point for St Mirren in their bid for Championship survival as they came from behind to draw with Dunfermline.
The former Dundee defender, pictured, was guilty of giving away the penalty that allowed Kallum Higginbotham to put the Pars in front but netted the equaliser to ensure the Buddies remain seven points adrift of Ayr United at the foot of the table.
“There is always that little bit of personal redemption for a player when he has given away a penalty then gets his goal,” said St Mirren manager Jack Ross. “I was pleased with them today because after how they performed last week, and how open I was with my criticism of them, the response was good, the character was encouraging.”
Desperate for points to claw their way back up the table, the last thing needed by the Buddies – who handed debuts to on-loan pair Rory Loy and Craig Storie – was to lay the opening goal on a plate for their hosts. But MacKenzie did just that by sending Michael Moffat sprawling in the box and Higginbotham, who missed two penalties against Ayr last month, was this time inch perfect from the spot.
Dunfermline deserved their half-time lead but they were given a warning they failed to heed shortly before the interval when MacKenzie nodded a Stevie Mallan corner off the post. The pair combined less than a minute after the break from another flag-kick and this time the defender’s powerful header sailed into the net.
Moffat was guilty of a horrible miss five minutes later when he screwed his shot wide from point-blank range and Jamie Langfield pulled off a magnificent save to deny Nicky Clark before Higginbotham hit a free-kick inches past as the Fifers tried in vain to find a winner.
“We are disappointed not to have won the game,” said Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston, whose side nonetheless extended their unbeaten run to nine games. “We have momentum but we need to win these kinds of matches.”