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Jonah Ayunga savours claiming 'biggest scalp' Celtic as he switches from spectator to star of show

Jonah Ayunga used to have his feet up watching his pals trying to pull off a shock result against Rangers and Celtic in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

But the powerful St Mirren striker much preferred being the star of the show as he expertly led the line before netting a crucial second goal to kill off the Hoops’ hopes of a revival in Paisley.

Ayunga made the switch north from struggling English League One side Morecambe in the summer, reuniting with former boss Stephen Robinson who believed the 25-year-old hitman could make the step up the Scottish Premiership.

So far Ayunga has risen to the challenge, netting six goals in eleven appearances as he continues to impress for the in-form Buddies.

None have been celebrated as wildly as his close-range effort against Celtic, which wrapped up St Mirren’s first home win against the Glasgow giants since March 2010.

And Ayunga insists St Mirren’s game plan of sitting off Ange Postecoglou’s side before hitting them where it hurts made the afternoon a perfect watch for the home fans.

Speaking exclusively to Renfrewshire Live Sport, Ayunga said: “To have what we worked on so hard in training all week come off in the game is very satisfying.

“It’s a huge win. It’s probably the biggest scalp we can take in the league. We’re very happy with the result.

“I’ve got a couple of friends who have come up to Scotland and I’ve watched them on TV playing Celtic and Rangers and thought ‘wow, that’s a massive game to be a part of’.

“It was really enjoyable to be able to go out there, do it myself and make my mark in the game as well.

“You know they’re going to have anything up to 80 per cent of the ball, but we worked on that all week.

“We worked on being as effective as we could be when we did land on it and I think we did that well.

“We made our passes count, got ourselves up the pitch and took our chances when they came.

“It was great to see so many happy faces in the stands at full-time. I don’t think coming into the game anyone gave us a chance at all.

“But the fans were right behind us from the off and stayed with us the whole game. They gave us that extra lift we needed to keep us going.”

As well as the obvious incentive to perform well in front of thousands of Sky Sports spectators, Ayunga revealed the Buddies disappointing 3-0 defeat to St Johnstone also played a key part in his side’s determination to upset the apple cart against Celtic.

The former Brighton striker also praised his boss for not changing St Mirren’s formation, keeping his strike partner Curtis Main alongside him as the pair caused the Hoops defence problems with their physicality and non-stop pressing.

Ayunga said: “The St Johnstone result upset everyone at the club, losing 3-0 when we thought we should be going there and getting a result.

“I think that showed against Celtic. The hunger was there from everyone on the pitch to show what we’re truly made of.

“Main got the assist for my goal and it’s great we’re combining so well.

“This is the formation we’ve been playing all season and we weren’t going to change it just for Celtic.

“We maybe dropped the line a little bit deeper to give ourselves more protection, but that’s the shape we’re going with and I think it suits everyone.”


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