JIM Goodwin has stressed the Riyad Mahrez who St Mirren passed up the chance to sign after a trial back in 2009 is a different player to the one who fired Manchester City into the Champions League final this week.

Algeria captain Mahrez scored a double as Pep Guardiola’s side beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 in the second leg of their semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday to set up a final showdown with Chelsea in Istanbul at the end of this month.

The 30-year-old winger, who City signed for £60m from Leicester City back in 2018, has spoken in the past about how the Paisley club let him go after he scored seven goals in four matches in Scotland.

However, Goodwin, whose side will take on St Johnstone in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden tomorrow, suggested the African has improved considerably since his fleeting stay in this country.   

“I’m glad to say I wasn’t involved back then and I don’t think the people who were are at the club,” he said. “It’s one of those things, to miss out on a player of that quality is a bitter blow.

“But I can’t imagine the Mahrez that is playing for Manchester City now is the Mahrez who was on trial here.

“Sometimes in recruitment you make mistakes, sometimes you sign people who are brilliant but they aren’t what you hope for.

“Other times you sign players that you think are squad players, but they turn into main men. Football is a funny game and you can’t get every signing right.

“I’m sure the people who were involved at that time would like to have it back and make a better decision.


“He obviously didn’t make as good an impression as he thinks, but we wouldn’t make that mistake again.”