Stirling Albion hat-trick hero Darren Smith says Tuesday’s victory over Montrose was a great all-round team effort and believes the Binos have been threatening to inflict a heavy defeat for some time, writes Jamie Hall.

The 27-year-old’s treble was his second of the season against the Gable Endies, who had no reply as it rained goals for Albion at Forthbank, and the striker says the result was thanks to a great team display.

Smith told Stirling News Sport: “We have been threatening to do that all season so I am glad it has come now in an important game for us. We should have won on Saturday and didn’t so we had to win this one. Once we got a foothold in the game we really came into it. We got a couple of quick-fire goals and after that we were cruising. It was a good all-round team performance.”

Smith says his good form since he returned from injury is thanks in part to his blossoming partnership with Steven Doris, and he paid tribute to his strike partner who scored a brace of his own on Tuesday.

He said: “Montrose must be hating me. I am really pleased, especially with the last goal because there was good link-up play with Steven Doris. We are starting to form a really good partnership and I am delighted he managed to get a couple of goals as well.

“That is only the second hat-trick of my career. I had never scored a hat-trick until this season and now I have two so I am delighted with that. I am delighted to be able to score some goals but it is nice for the boys to be able to share them as well.

“Considering I only started back at the start of December I am just glad I am back playing. It is good to be fit and healthy again. I am enjoying every moment of it just now and taking things as they come.”

Smith is hoping that the Binos can carry the momentum from their stunning victory into Saturday’s clash with Berwick Rangers at Forthbank, and the ex-Motherwell man says a good result can finally show they are serious challengers for promotion.

He added: “I said before the game that it was a massive one, and we have got another one on Saturday against Berwick. They are the teams we really need to be getting three points against, especially at home. Saturday is massive.

"If we can get a good victory there we can really start to climb the table. We have been outside the playoff spots too often this season and we really should be in there. If we can get another victory on Saturday and other results go our way we can really kick on.”

Meanwhile, Smith is carrying out a survey into fans’ matchday experiences as part of his dissertation for the University of the West of Scotland. The aim of the survey is to provide a better experience for match-going fans at Forthbank by investigating ticket prices and support services such as catering and other entertainment.

The anonymous survey is for over-16s and can be found via the following link: