RICKIE Lambert will become the fastest Saint to 100 career goals for the club in over 40 years if he reaches his century tonight.
Lambert’s header at Wigan last weekend took his club tally to 99 league and cup strikes in 183 appearances.
He is on course to become only the tenth Saint to reach a hundred goals for the club in post-war league and cup action.
If he scores against defending champions Manchester City at St Mary’s in tonight’s live televised game, Lambert will etch his name into the pantheon of Saints goal aces including Matt Le Tissier, Mick Channon, Ron Davies, Martin Chivers and Terry Paine.
And Lambert will make it five goals in five games against England star Joe Hart if he completes his century tonight.
Welsh international striker Davies holds the record as the quickest Saint to a century of goals.
He reached the landmark milestone in an extraordinary 141 league and cup games in August 1969, just over three years after making his debut for the club.
In his first season at The Dell in 1966/67, Saints’ debut season in the top flight, he blasted 37 league goals – a total that has never been passed in the division since.
In all, Davies scored 43 league and cup goals in his first season as a Saint, putting him almost halfway towards a ton in less than 12 months.
Of the nine players to have reached a century of goals for Saints, Lambert should do it faster than five of them.
Not only did Davies reach his milestone before him, but so did George O’Brien (100 goals in 159 games), Derek Reeves (100 goals in 170 games) and Chivers (100 goals in 175 games).
Lambert will almost certainly reach his ton quicker than Le Tissier (100 goals in 265 games), Channon (100 goals in 272 games), Eric Day (100 goals in 317 games), Tommy Mulgrew (100 goals in 325 games) and Paine (100 goals in 341 games).
Only Le Tissier has reached a century of goals for Saints since Channon achieved the feat in September 1973.
Steve Moran almost did it.
He left The Dell in the summer of 1986 having netted 99 league and cup goals in 229 appearances.Moran actually reached 99 goals in his 218th outing, but failed to complete a century in his next 11 games.
Bearing in mind the era in which Moran played, and the fact all his league goals were in the top flight and he hardly ever took penalties, his is some record.