ST MIRREN may have suffered a predictable defeat in Lancashire yesterday, but they emerged with plenty credit after holding their own for long periods of this entertaining friendly.
Wigan's obvious cash advantage meant that they had better quality players on show with Hugo Rodallega in particular catching the eye, but the visitors caused the English side no end of problems and can at least be entitled to have a degree of optimism ahead of Saturday's SPL opener away to Hibs.
Former Hamilton player James McCarthy was missing from the Wigan squad, while Jason Scotland had to settle for a place on the bench. Chris Innes, St Mirren's newest recruit, also started as a sub while former Killie player Allan Johnston played an hour as a trialist for the visitors.
It looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for Gus McPherson's side as Wigan started like a train. Within two minutes, Rodallega sent a low shot against Paul Gallacher's post before Charles N'Zogbia sent the rebound high.
It came as no surprise when the hosts went ahead after 26 minutes, as Jason Koumas curled a free-kick past Gallacher after John Potter had handled. It looked like a signal for the floodgates to open, but within three minutes the Scots drew level. Wigan defender Emerson slipped as he went to cut out a Stephen O'Donnell through-ball and the alert Craig Dargo nipped in to slot the ball under Chris Kirkland and into the net with the aid of a touch from Titus Bramble.
The visitors then more than held their own for a spell and almost took the lead just before the break, only for Dargo to cut the ball back from a dangerous position when a shot looked a better option.
They were made to pay three minutes after the break when Rodallega curled home a splendid free-kick before Mario Melchiot put the hosts further ahead with an acrobatic effort nine minutes later.
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Edman, Cattermole, Koumas, Brown, N'Zogbia, Gomez, Boyce, Bramble, Rodallega. Subs: Cho, King, Schamer, Watson, Scotland, Pollitt, Bouaouzan. De Ridder, Sinclair, King.
St Mirren: Gallacher, Ross, Kamara, McGinn, Mair, Potter, O'Donnell, Brady, Dargo, Trialist. Higdon. Subs: Barron, Innes, Robb, Brighton, Dorman, Mehmet. Subs not used: Howard, Wyness
Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 5136