Alex Greives’ late winner for Scottish club St Mirren has earned him forgiveness from manager Stephen Robinson who was unhappy at the All White’s late return from international duty.
Australian players in the St Mirren squad returned to club training last Wednesday while Greive did not get back till Friday.
“He (Greive) was coming from a long way away. (Why it took so long) is a question I haven’t had answered yet. New Zealand are probably a smaller association than the Australian boys,” a baffled Robinson told Four-Four-Two.
Greive (23) scored the winner for St Mirren in the final minute, giving them a 2-1 win against Livingston despite being down to 10 men.
Manager Robinson: ‘He’s a great boy with masses of enthusiasm’
Robinson said: “Credit to Alex Greive. I gave him a little bit of stick when he came back, but it’s not quite a trip back from Belfast I suppose, it was from Auckland.
“Alex wasn’t back until Friday. We’ll obviously look at the travel arrangements for the boys a lot more closely next time.
“But it was certainly the way to answer my question. He repaid us with a goal and he’s a very humble boy.
“He’s so committed to St Mirren and actually did all his prep on the plane home, watching the videos we’d sent him.
“He’s got his rewards. He’s a great boy with masses of enthusiasm, so we’ll forgive him.”
Greive told the Daily Record his 36-hour return trip to the United Kingdom had been tough.
‘You definitely feel a whole lot better when you win’
“It was a long week. I played for New Zealand against Australia in Auckland on Sunday and didn’t get back to Paisley until Thursday.
“The journey was a tough one. I had a 19-hour flight from Auckland to Dubai, but it stopped halfway at Kuala Lumpur. Then I had to get from Dubai to London and London to Glasgow.
“I think it was difficult organising flights and stuff. And there was maybe a bit of miscommunication in there as well. But we’ve talked about it and it’s all sorted out.
“It was all worth it in the end. I felt pretty good despite all the travelling and I really wanted to get out there and play. I’m still young and the legs work ok, so I was fine.
“The manager had sent me videos to prep for this game, so I was ready for whatever came along.
“I don’t feel too bad – it’s easier flying back this way than the other way, plus I’m pretty good at sleeping on a plane. And you definitely feel a whole lot better when you win!”