(Photo: Nigel Cole / ProSports)
By Luke Baker
SCORING your 100th goal for a club should be a special moment, but Peterborough striker Craig Mackail-Smith was just desperate to get it over with.
That impatience can happen when you wait the best part of six years to achieve a milestone!
In the League One play-off final on May 29, 2011, Mackail-Smith bagged his 99th Posh goal in the 3-0 triumph over Huddersfield but departed for Brighton that summer.
A three-game loan spell in 2014 didn’t bring up goal 100 and eight painful matches passed without him finding the net since his temporary switch from Luton at the end of January.
However, the 33-year-old striker’s 70-month wait finally ended, albeit in fortunate circumstances, against Oxford last weekend and he plundered two more in a 3-3 thriller at Chesterfield in midweek.
“I was hoping to put the 100th to bed a bit earlier and get that monkey off my back, but it took a couple of games to get there,” said Mackail-Smith.“Now I feel a bit more relaxed. It’s not a question everyone keeps asking me and it’s not one I’m worrying about now.
“I can play more freely and it made me go out and score two on Tuesday.
“I got pretty lucky with the goal. It was a kind of cross-shot, but that’s what I needed. Now I’m freer and can just focus on scoring.”
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that certainly applies to Mackail-Smith’s feelings about Peterborough as he has slotted right back into life at the ABAX Stadium.
“I love the club, and lots of people that were here in my first spell are still here,” added the Scotland international. “Obviously I know Grant (manager Grant McCann) from playing alongside him as well.
“It was fantastic for the chairman (Darragh MacAnthony) to give me a chance. I hadn’t been playing at Luton, so people were questioning my fitness. But I still had the hunger and desire to play, and I’m at a club where I know the style of play. So far, it is going well.”
Mackail-Smith and McCann were team-mates during the striker’s first spell in Cambridgeshire. It could have made for an awkward relationship.
Yet the former Dagenham & Redbridge star insists the opposite is true and that having a good friend at the helm has only been a positive.
“We can have chats about the team and how we both see a situation.It works really well,” he said.
“He’s a friend and now he’s my manager, so I feel I can have proper discussions about how things are going. It’s nice.”