Manager Jack Ross says he now has a number of players capable of weighing in with goals and that should serve as a warning to those looking to knock the Easter Road side off their perch, following last season’s third-place finish.
Between them top scorer Kevin Nisbet, Martin Boyle, and Christian Doidge netted 50 goals for the club lst term and, while the latter has been restricted by covid issues, the former two opened their accounts for the new season in the first leg of their Conference League qualifying defeat of Santa Coloma.
In the second leg, another two of Ross’ attacking force got out the blocks, with Jamie Murphy and newcomer Daniel Mackay both coming off the bench to score.
“With Jamie and Dan scoring on Thursday, four of our forward players are off the mark already and you want that,” said Ross, whose men travel to Motherwell on Sunday.
“The subs helped us as well in those forward areas and we’re going to need that throughout the season.
“Last year we were relying on three and you want to share that burden. With Jamie being back fit earlier than anticipated and getting him on the park for half an hour, that was a bonus.
“He’s a top player who brings a bit of class to the game, composure and that end product. It was good for him to get a goal, while Dan is a young player with enormous potential who’s got an end product. He always produces by scoring or creating and he did that on Thursday. It’s pleasing that four of those guys are off the mark already.”
The convincing aggregate win sets up a head to head with Croatian side Rijeka next week but, with the trip to Fir Park up first, Ross said he was pleased to be able to offer players who are coming back from illness and injury a run out on Thursday.
“We’d pre-planned certain changes in terms of getting minutes into players and looking after some others.
“Not only did we not pick up any fresh injuries, we got minutes into the legs of Josh Doig, Jake Doyle-Hayes, Jamie Murphy, Christian Doidge. That’s a plus.”