Pressure was off for Mackail-Smith as he ends goal drought

Craig Mackail-Smith scores the winner against Hartlepool
Craig Mackail-Smith scores the winner against Hartlepool

Hatters striker Craig Mackail-Smith revealed the secret behind his return to the scoresheet against Hartlepool at the weekend.

The big-name summer signing was expected to fire Luton towards promotion this term, but prior to Saturday, had only managed three goals, not scoring since September and failing to net from open play since August’s thunderbolt at Yeovil Town.

“The last few weeks I’ve wanted to relax and enjoy it and do the best I can and have fun.”

Craig Mackail-Smith

However, when sent clean through by Olly Lee’s pass at Kenilworth Road, he demonstrated all his experience and predatory instincts to dink over Trevor Carson and secure a long overdue home victory.

Mackail-Smith said: “I’ve taken a lot of pressure off myself recently as I’m such a perfectionist that I want to take every chance I get, be the best I can be every day.

“But the last few weeks I’ve wanted to relax and enjoy it and do the best I can and have fun.

“I got in that position and was just so relaxed to do what comes naturally which is where I should be week in week out.

“So I’ll keep doing that, enjoying the game and I know more goals will be coming.

“I have faith in my ability and I know the target I was setting myself at the start of the season and how many goals I should have scored by now and I’m not near where I want to be.

“It’s one of those things though, I’ve put the time in on the training ground and if I’ve been asked to play in different positions I’ve done it because I love football and want to do the best I can for the team.”

Mackail-Smith could have been forgiven for having a look at the linesman before wheeling away in joyful celebration, after seeing three goals chalked off this year due to two dubious offside decisions and a handball.

He continued: “I just finished and then didn’t check whether I was offside. I just wanted to finish, put the ball in the back of the net and then if he raises his flag, I’ve got to be a bit quicker next time.

“It has been disappointing because that would have given me a bit more confidence, bit more momentum early on in the season and maybe I’d be sitting here with 10-15 goals by now.

“But these things happen, that’s the way football goes. On another day I might have been offside and scored, so I can’t think about it now.

“I’ve scored one and hopefully next game I’ll score another one and go from there.”