Alex Greive makes dream Scottish Premier League debut hours after signing

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New Zealand striker Alex Greive has signed for Scottish Premier League club St Mirren.

Saint Mirren FC

New Zealand striker Alex Greive has signed for Scottish Premier League club St Mirren.

Kiwi striker Alex Greive made a whirlwind Scottish Premier League debut just hours after signing for St Mirren – and narrowly missed a chance to score.

The 22-year-old is the first New Zealander to join St Mirren since the Renfrewshire side forged a strategic partnership with Auckland club Birkenhead United.

St Mirren announced the signing of Greive on Tuesday afternoon (early Wednesday NZ time) and hours after signing, St Mirren named the Kiwi rookie as one of his replacements for St Mirren’s visit to Dundee United on Wednesday morning ( New Zealand time).

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Greive came off the bench as an 88th-minute substitute for Greg Kiltie in the Saints’ 2-1 win at Dundee United’s Tannadice Park, giving him a brief preview of SPL action.

He could have covered himself in glory with a 90th-minute chance but went astray with a left-footed shot from the center of the penalty area as St Mirren bounced back from 11 games without a win.

If Greive establishes himself, he could find himself chasing Old Firm giants Rangers and Celtic.

Greive stood out for Birkenhead in the 2021 New Zealand domestic season, scoring 25 goals in 33 games over the calendar year and winning the Northern Premier League MVP award.

He was also selected in the 2020-2021 ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership Team of the Season.

Greive – who was part of the OlyWhites’ long roster but was not part of the Tokyo Olympics final squad or a non-traveling reserve – joined St Mirren on an 18-month deal.

Birkenhead United's Alex Greive is chased by Western Springs Aiden Iqbal during a Northern Premier <a class=League game in 2021.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

Shane Wenzlick/photosport

Birkenhead United’s Alex Greive is chased by Western Springs Aiden Iqbal during a Northern Premier League game in 2021.

“We are delighted to have another addition to the squad at the top of the pitch,” Saints manager Goodwin said ahead of the Dundee United game.

“Alex is one of those we’ve been working with for a little while, but we weren’t able to register him until the January window opened.

“He brings creativity, he’s a bit different to some of the other strikers we have at the moment, he’s quite dynamic and he’s a decent footballer, so we’re delighted to have him involved.”

A product of Sacred Heart College – and MVP of the 2016 National High School Tournament – ​​Greive played at Northern Kentucky University on a football scholarship and scored two goals in 10 games for US League Two club Cincinatti Dutch Lions in 2019 before returning to Auckland.

Although the New Zealand national game is predominantly amateur, Goodwin described Greive as “a very good professional. He looked very lively in training and I think he surprised one or two.

Alex Greive (Waitakere United, L) disputes the ball with Canterbury United's Lyle Matthysen in 2020.

John Davidson/Photosport

Alex Greive (Waitakere United, L) disputes the ball with Canterbury United’s Lyle Matthysen in 2020.

St Mirren – based in Paisley, near Glasgow – are ninth in the 12-team SPL standings after finishing seventh last season.

They formed sister club alliances last year with two New Zealand clubs, Birkenhead United and Nelson Suburbs.

Greive will be the only Kiwi in the SPL but will have Australasian company at Saints with Australian right-back Matt Millar, 25, joining this season after A-League experience with Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets.

Australian players have made a real impact in the SPL, led by Socceroo Tom Rogic at Glasgow Celtic and former Wellington Phoenix midfielder Cameron Devlin at Edinburgh Hearts.

The St Mirren strike force is led by Connor Ronan, a Republic of Ireland age group international on loan from English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers.

One-time Scotland international Eamonn Brophy scored the Saints’ second decisive goal against Dundee United and former Middlesbrough and Aberdeen striker Curtis Main is also on the Paisley club’s books.

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