Naismith nails it

JASON Naismith was the toast of Paisley last night as his strike secured a 1-0 win for St Mirren in the Renfrewshire Cup final against former club Morton.

In a fierce contest which relentlessly and almost literally flowed from end to end in the torrential Greenock rain, it was the ex-Cappielow loanee who made the biggest splash of the afternoon with the full-back racing in at the back post to crash home a fizzing ball across the area from Gregg Wylde on 77 minutes.

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It was a cruel end to the afternoon for Morton, who just minutes before had Joe McKee's goal-bound effort marvellously stopped by St Mirren keeper Marian Kello as the SPFL League One side attempted to retain the trophy they won in Paisley last year.

Tommy Craig, the St Mirren manager, said: "There's always an edge to these games, and they actually started better than we did it. Thankfully the goal came our way and when we got it we managed to cruise home."

Morton manager Jim Duffy, who saw forward Stefan McCluskey go off with dislocated shoulder, said: "We lost our sharpness when Stef went off, and that allowed St Mirren to press home their possession. It was probably too competitive for a friendly, if you can call it that."

Thistle test six

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald ran the rule over six trialists as his side drew 1-1 with Championship side Dumbarton.

Former Kilmarnock defender Darren Barr once again got a chance to impress as he bids for a deal with Thistle, while left-back Jordan Mustoe, who joined Archibald's squad on their pre-season trip to Spain, was given the second half at the Bet Butler Stadium.

Midfielders Abdul Osman and Algerian Hamza Bencharif were handed starts for Partick, as was full-back Matt Parsons, while Togolese striker Kalen Damessi was given a late run-out as Archibald bids to bolster his squad ahead of the new Premiership campaign.

The Thistle boss saw his side go behind on the hour mark when Dumbarton sub Bryan Prunty headed beyond Scott Fox just moments after his introduction.

The visitors saw plenty of the ball but scoring chances were few and far between and it was Ryan Stevenson, the only new arrival of the summer so far, who earned Thistle a draw as his effort from the edge of the area looped over keeper Stephen Grindlay

United go Dutch

Dundee United have snapped up Dutch striker Mario Bilate as Jackie McNamara bolsters his attacking options following the departure of Ryan Gauld.

The 23-year-old, who was born in Moscow but has spent his whole career in Holland, joined up with United's training camp in Arnhem yesterday after penning a two-year deal.

Bilate arrives from Sparta Rotterdam, where he scored 18 goals in 88 games in the last three seasons, becoming a pivotal attacker for the second-tier side.

"Mario has a very good pedigree and he comes very highly recommended. He is big, strong, quick and he can put the ball in the net," beamed United boss Jackie McNamara.

"He plays through the middle but he is not just a target man. He can come deeper and play from there as well. He'll add competition for places and quality and gives me more options, which as a manager is what you want.

"I spoke to a couple of ex-teammates from over here in Holland, although not Pierre van Hooijdonk this time! But they said he's a very good player and if I could get him I should.

"He is only 23 so it's another one who is at the right age. I believe this can be a very good move for the lad as well as for us."

The 6ft 3in forward becomes the club's fifth signing of the summer, following Charlie Telfer, Blair Spittal, Callum Morris and Jaroslaw Fojut to Tannadice.

It remains to be seen whether tonight's friendly against FC Utrecht comes too early for Bilate to make his bow, but he is likely to play some part in the tour, with United also facing NAC Breda on Tuesday evening.