Esmael Goncalves has promised he will only get better after making a stunning start to his loan spell with St Mirren.
The 21-year-old bagged a brace as Danny Lennon’s side defeated St Johnstone 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Goncalves broke the deadlock four minutes after half-time when he headed home from a Gary Teale cross and he doubled the hosts’ advantage eight minutes later, latching onto Steven Thompson’s header and coolly converted for his fourth goal in three games.
Indeed he almost completed his hat-trick when he ended a driving run with a shot that drifted just wide of the post
“This is the best scoring run of my career and I am very happy,” he said.
“The Scottish game is very fast and I am fast too, so I like that.
“It’s unbelievable playing in games with such a great atmosphere. I really like the fans here – they are crazy.”
St Mirren boss Lennon believes that Goncalves will get stronger in the coming weeks and the forward agrees with his manager.
Following a two-month spell without any competitive action, Goncalves has now played three games in the last week.
“My last game before coming to St Mirren was over two months ago and now I have played three games in a week.”
“I am feeling tired, but I’ll be okay” the on-loan Rio Ave striker added.
St Johnstone striker Kenny MacLean accepted that poor finishing was proving costly for the Perthshire club.
“We haven’t taken our chances when we have been on top and that’s been the story of our season,” MacLean said.
“We have spoken about it and we know that we need to start taking our chances when they come. The strikers have to start taking responsibility – we have let a few of the lads in the dressing room and the fans down by not taking our opportunities.”
MacLean himself passed up good scoring opportunities, most notably blazing over when released by Gregory Tade and heading weakly following a free kick from substitute Gwion Edwards.
Liam Craig at least managed to bring out a great save from St Mirren keeper Craig Samson who also saved well from Rowan Vine and produced a point-blank stop in the final minute to deny former St Mirren midfielder Nigel Hasselbaink. This proved to be their last chance and St Mirren marked a deserved win with a clean sheet.