STEVIE Mallan has become a global internet sensation after scoring a remarkable solo goal at Dundee last month, with over four million views on a multitude of platforms from Paisley to Portland.
However, the St Mirren youngster has revealed he was brought crashing back down to earth when he was back wiping the mud off senior players’ boots trying to deal with jibes like “Mallandona” and the “new Messi”. Mallan, who has named Young Player of the Month for December, scored the goal of the season so far on 27 December when he evaded three chall- enges in a mesmerising run from halfway before scoring from the edge of the box.
The 18-year-old has been overwhelmed by the response to his strike and he will never tire of watching it. Mallan said: “I’m definitely not sick of watching my goal yet. I watch it every day. It’s all over my news feed. I’ve watched it on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They say it’s the most watched clip so probably half of the views have been from me and my family.
“My friends have tagged me in comments from other people so I can see them calling me the new Messi. It’s been a bit overwhelming. I just can’t believe the publicity. The best thing was seeing the goal on Soccer AM. But the Monday after that goal I was cleaning the boots. I cleaned Callum Ball and Adam Drury’s boots. I was in as usual to do my duties.
“I still have to clean the boots. I’m an under-20 player, so I have to do all the duties. I clean the boots and lay out everything for the manager.”
Dundee’s Jim McAlister is probably the one person in the country who does not watch the video as he is beaten twice by Mallan in the run that led to the goal. It was something that just came instinctively for the teenager who has been named SPFL Young Player of the Month for December.
However, he is hoping he will not become known as a one-hit wonder. He said: “The first thought that came into my head was to dribble and it paid off. All the way along I was looking for a pass and then I thought I’d shoot, because Gary Teale has been telling me to shoot more.
“I hit the shot and couldn’t believe when I scored. Straight afterwards all the boys were talking about what a good goal it was but I couldn’t remember it. They were saying I’d nutmegged three or four people along the way but it wasn’t quite that good when I watched it back.
“They wind me up by saying I’ve got too big for my boots and they take the mickey a bit. Some people have been calling me Messi. I’ve also heard Mallandona. I just let it wash over me.”
Mallan burst on to the scene in November when he made his debut at Hamilton and he has now played in the last six matches, exceeding his expectations. He said: “My goal was to get on the bench before the Christmas break. Then Tommy Craig gave me my debut against Hamilton. I couldn’t believe it.
“I was shocked, but I’ve stayed in the team. I can’t believe I’d had that many starts or that I have been named Young Player of the Month either. That’s such an achievement.”
St Mirren are joint-bottom of the Premiership table and Mallan knows they must start picking up points but their task today could hardly be more arduous as Aberdeen travel to Paisley. Mallan said: “Aberdeen are flying just now. They’ve had seven straight wins and have a chance to win the league. They’ve played every team and don’t look like losing.
“It’s a big couple of weeks for us. Hopefully we get a good result against Aberdeen and Ross County away the following week.”
Meanwhile Ross Caldwell, signed from Hibs last season, has had his contract terminated after making only two starts and 13 substitute appearances.