St Mirren 0 Toon 2

Last updated : 02 August 2013 By Footy Mad - Editor

Of course Alan Pardew - starved of signings this summer - proclaimed it is “just like a new signing”.

But he would ... wouldn´t he.

It is more like camouflaging the true extent of laborious progress in the transfer market. And Joe Kinnear and Mike Ashley pulling the piss and knocking them back.

Obviously there are many reasons for Ashley´s mistrust in Pardew, least of all avoiding relegation by the hairs on our knackers last campaign.

But is this the way forward?

On a pleasant night in Paisley,Cisse brushed off the travails of his Wonga dispute to re-announce his presence in the Newcastle squad.

Cisse looked fit, firing and most importantly motivated as the Buddies were seen off in the latest leg of United’s mini-tour of Scotland.

More tuning will be required, of course, and Rangers and Braga can expect to face Cisse in the Magpies’ final pre-season games. Two missed chances – one screwed wide in the first half and a second-half opportunity that was blazed wide of St Mirren goalkeeper David Cornell’s right-hand post – illustrated there is work to do to get him right back to his best.

There were glimpses of the talent that propelled Dan Gosling into the England under-21 team all those years ago as he pulled the strings in the centre of midfield.

He would have had a goal, too, if it wasn’t for the reflexes of Cornell – who stretched well to catch a first-half header that looked set to ripple the back of the net.

An outstretched second-half boot after smart work by the lively Sammy Ameobi on the wing nearly connected too, but he departed after an hour’s work with a point proven. It still looks like a long way back into contention from here, but he went down as a positive on a night when Newcastle maintained their steady pre-season form.

A second clean sheet in succession was another pleasing development as a back four marshalled by Fabricio Coloccini easily kept the Buddies at arm’s length.

Indeed they were so infrequently troubled by their SPL rivals that Mathieu Debuchy – an attacking full-back who did very little pressing forward after signing in January – was able to burst on to Vurnon Anita’s through ball and sweep past Cornell to score the second.

Anita, Ameobi and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa all had room for improvement after mediocre seasons last year and all looked sharp enough.

One thing is certain: Newcastle need to strike in the transfer market. Cisse’s encouraging return offers a measure of respite, but by the time they return to Glasgow to play Rangers next week they really need to have made their transfer statement.