BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Peterhead talisman Rory McAllister has attributed his blistering start to the season to tennis sessions with teammate Ryan Strachan – after serving up a five-goal masterclass against Falkirk.
The 28-year-old enjoyed the most prolific 90 minutes of his senior career on Tuesday evening, inspiring the Blue Toon to a remarkable 5-3 Petrofac Training Cup triumph against their Championship opponents.
He secured ownership of the match ball prior to the interval, plundering a first-half hat-trick, before scoring a stunning 35-yard half-volley to make the score 4-3 in the closing stages. He rounded off his display with a clinically converted penalty kick.
And McAllister reckons his form in the early part of the campaign – scoring nine goals in five outings – can be put down to a gruelling summer fitness campaign, more convenient working conditions and being given the runaround by Strachan on the tennis court.
He said: “I’m feeling the benefit of the close season work, I’ve got back in shape. Last season I was away with work a lot and I missed a lot of training. But I’m back in Aberdeen now and not missing any training.
“I’m doing a little bit extra as well. I’m playing a lot of tennis with Ryan Strachan, which keeps me in good shape away from football. That seems to be working well.
“It’s something I only took up recently when Ryan suggested it, but it’s a weekly thing now. I think he’s been playing for a while to be fair – he’s class, much better than me.
“He just makes me run about the court – that’s probably why I’m so fit now.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever scored five goals. It was just one of those nights when you think everything you hit is going to go in. Sometimes it’s the complete opposite, so I’ll take it while I can!”
McAllister modestly described his five-star showing at the Falkirk Stadium as “just one of those nights when you think everything you hit is going to go in”, but admits he is keen to make amends for a below-par season last year.
He failed to meet his own exacting standards, scoring just nine times – his lowest tally since the 2008/09 campaign when he was a bit-part player with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
But he intends to bounce back by enjoying his most profitable season ever in front of goal.
The former Brechin front-man continued: “I’m delighted with how I’ve started this season because I didn’t have a good season last year.
“Hopefully I can go onto beat my record for a season, which is 33 goals. If I can do that, then I don’t think we will be far away from the top of the league table.”