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MATCHWINNER Joao Victoria is aiming to fire Stranraer to safety and gain a spot of revenge on Brechin City.

The on-loan Airdrie man scored the winner at Stark’s Park on Saturday to give his side their first three points against Raith Rovers since 1984.

The win boosted Stranraer’s chances of survival ahead of a vital clash with Brechin City on Saturday.

Barry Smith’s men won at Stair Park last month, when Victoria had a good chance to score for the Blues.

The frontman said: “I really should have scored then but these things happen in football.

“I will try to take revenge this weekend coming.

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“I probably owe Stevie Farrell a goal for that chance I missed – I will try to get something on Saturday.”

Victoria’s injury time winner in Kirkcaldy was his fourth goal for Stranraer since joining the club at the end of January.

On Saturday, Stranraer had trailed 2-0 before Kyle Turner and Innes Cameron pulled them level before the break.

Incredibly, the turnaround was complete late on when Cameron’s shot came back off the post and Victoria was waiting to nod the ball home.

He said: “We never gave up.

“We were the better team for the whole game and unfortunately we conceded two goals.

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“They were cheap goals, to be honest, but we kept fighting and we could see that there was a goal coming sooner or later.

“We just kept attacking and attacking and eventually we scored one.

“Just before half time, we scored another and we kept believing.

“We never let our heads go down, even when we were 2-0 down, we just kept believing, kept fighting and eventually got the draw just before half time, which was massive for us.

“Then, we went in at half time and the manager just gave us such motivation to go on.

“We could see we could get something from the game and that we could win.

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“We looked so dangerous each time we went forward.”

The 29-year-old praised the efforts of Stranraer boss Stevie Farrell, who tried to sign the Portuguese player in the summer.

Victoria opted for Airdrie then but has repaid Farrell’s faith with goals in the last two games.

The striker said the manager gave the team “a lot of motivation” and added: “Stevie Farrell is really good – he is very positive.

“He gives me such freedom to go and play, to go and do what I like, which is running at people out wide, going forward.

“It is really good and he is a really special manager as well.

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“I have a lot of respect for him and he is a really nice guy as well.

“I am really happy that I was able to work with him.

“He was going to sign me in the summer and eventually it has happened.

“I am on loan now and I am really glad that it has happened.”

Now, with three games left, Victoria is aiming to ensure he continues his goalscoring form to reward Farrell further.

He added: “The more games I play, the more I will score.

“I came here and Stevie told me I was going to play and he was going to put a smile back on my face.”

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It has been an incredible journey for Victoria, who previously played for Queen’s Park, Albion Rovers and Arbroath, as well as East Kilbride.

However, he had never even played 11-a-side football before coming to Scotland a decade ago and finding a new home.

He told the Stranraer website: “I was playing futsal.

“It is a very popular game in Portugal.

“Where I grew up, that was what we played all day every day.

“When I came to Scotland, I was here maybe a year without knowing anybody or even touching a ball.

“I was new here and did not have friends.

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“Then, I made some friends and they introduced me to football and I started playing here.

“It was hard for me because futsal is a different game with different positions on the pitch.

“It was so difficult for me and it took me at least two or three seasons to get used to the 11-a-side game.”

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Raith Rovers 28 53
2 Falkirk 28 52
3 Airdrieonians 28 48
4 Montrose 28 47
5 East Fife 28 45
6 Dumbarton 28 38
7 Clyde 28 34
8 Peterhead 27 26
9 Forfar Athletic 28 24
10 Stranraer 27 16

2019/20 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Scott Robertson (DEF)
3 - Jordan Allan (DEF)
4 - Adam Cummins (DEF)
5 - Lee Hamilton (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - James Hilton (MID/STR)
8 - Grant Gallagher (MID)
9 - Ryan Stevenson (STR)
10 - Denny Johnstone (STR)
11 - Joao Victoria (MID/STR)

12 - Carlo Pignatiello (DEF/MID)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID/STR)
16 - Lewis McIntyre (DEF)
20 - Jordan Ross (MID)

21 - Dale Burgess (GK)
22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF/MID)
23 - Ryan Thomson (MID)
77 - Andy Stirling (MID)