GRAHAM Carey scored a goal of the season contender for St Mirren against Hearts just over two weeks ago, his stunning left-foot strike from all of 30 yards in the 2-0 SPL win even drawing comparisons with some of Gareth Bale’s finest work from similar distance.
But, while Carey presents one of the most obvious threats to the Tynecastle club in tomorrow’s League Cup final at Hampden, he will be content to let someone else hog the headlines this time so long as the trophy is heading for Paisley.
“If it meant we were going to win the cup, I’d take a tap-in or an own goal from anyone,” said the 23-year-old Irishman. “It would be nice to score against Hearts again, but a win is more important than any individual performances.
“The goal against Hearts last time was nice, especially as it was repeated on Sky Sports quite a lot. My family back home in Ireland don’t get to many games, but everyone saw that one and I was getting loads of texts. It was good for me to get that kind of exposure, but it was just another goal at the end of the day.”
It was a goal which highlighted Carey’s technical ability in shooting from distance, which makes him a leading candidate to take any set-pieces in dangerous positions for St Mirren at Hampden.
“I spend quite a bit of time practicing my free-kicks,” he added. “I do it for around 30 minutes on my own after training each day. Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity to test the Hearts goalkeeper on Sunday. It’s a tough one now, because people are almost expecting me to score with free-kicks. I had a couple last weekend against Dundee United which I put into Row Z and I heard the crowd kind of mumbling about it.
“It comes with the territory. If you are going to score, you have to miss a few as well. We do have a few other set-piece takers, but if I get to take them on Sunday, I’ll hopefully be more consistent.”
Carey is one of only three survivors in the St Mirren squad from their last League Cup final appearance three years ago when they suffered the anguish of losing 1-0 to a nine-man Rangers side.
“It was a very tough day and it took us a long time to get over it,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to get a piece of silverware but we couldn’t take it. There’s only myself, Lee Mair and David Barron left from that day. We haven’t really spoken about it since, but it’s always been at the back of our minds. It’s great that we’ve got an opportunity like this so quickly to try and go one better.”