Rickie Lambert admits reaching 100 goals for Saints will hold great significance for him – but he will only reflect on the milestone properly when he retires.

The striker scored for the 99th time in an incredible St Mary’s career when he headed in from close range against Wigan.

It has taken Lambert just three-and-a-half years and 183 league and cup games to move to the cusp of the century mark.

And he is now on the verge of joining an illustrious group that includes club legends Mick Channon, Matt Le Tissier, Terry Paine, Derek Reeves, Ron Davies and Martin Chivers.

The 30-year-old believes it won’t be long until he brings up his ton, and that it will be a wonderful achievement to reflect on.

“I knew I was on 98,” he said after his goal in the 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium. “It would have been nice to score two, but I’m confident it’ll come sooner rather than later, so I’m not going to be stressing over it.

“It would mean a lot. I don’t obviously focus on figures like that, but when I retire that’s when I’ll look back and think ‘that’s a good achievement.’ “Obviously, I’m trying to score to help the team win a game or get a point and that’s what I’ll be looking to do next week – not (simply) to try and get the 100th goal.”

While Lambert had yet another strike to savour, there was no sense of celebration from him after Saturday’s match.

“We’re just frustrated about conceding last minute. It’s a very, very bad goal to give away,” he said.

Lambert added: “We’ve been good of late at not conceding many goals.

“They were poor goals, both of them. “It’s not like us, so we need to get back on the training pitch and get ready for next week.

“Obviously, when the dust settles and you have time to think about it, we’re going to think of it being a good point, but right now it doesn’t feel like that.

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow. We should have had three points.

“The performance was brilliant throughout. For 90 minutes we pressed them, we harassed them and we put them under a lot of pressure.

“They’re a really good football team and last time we played them we got taught a lesson, but this time we showed them how good we’ve improved, and we deserved to win.”

Saints’ performances of late, during a run in which they have lost just three of their last 15 matches, have sparked hope that they could soon accelerate well away from the bottom three.

But Lambert issued a reminder that there is still plenty of work to be done before the club can declare victory in their battle for survival.

Despite that good run since early November, Saints are still only three points above the drop zone.

“I know the ambition of this club is to push on, but we all realise the situation we’re in, and we’re nowhere near safe, so our focus is to push away from the relegation zone,” he said.

“At the minute we are in a relegation fight.”

Full story in today's Daily Echo