FREE-scoring striker Lawrence Shankland celebrated his first ever first team hat-trick on Saturday and then admitted the League One title was Ayr United's to lose.

And following his exploits in the 4-0 triumph against former club Queen's Park, the former Aberdeen and St Mirren striker, is setting his sights on smashing through the 30-goal barrier.

The Ayr United juggernaut continues to roll on and shows no signs of slowing down as they go into their final five games with a six-point cushion over Raith Rovers, who have a game in hand.

Shankland, who went away with the match ball and a bottle of champagne said after the match: "It's the first top team hat-trick in first team football, there have been a few games where I have scored doubles so I was getting anxious to get one. It was good I did it. They were all good and Declan McDaid set the three of them up. The first one was a nice ball over the top I lifted over the top of the goalie, the second one was a brilliant diagonal ball which I got on my chest and spun and finished. The third goal was the most memorable as Declan shanked his free-kick and I managed to rescue him. It was a decent finish, I think that was the best one. I will give the match ball a cuddle then stick it on the mantelpiece."

Added the target man: "That's 28 goals for me and 30 is what I'm going for now, I have plenty of games to do that. I was delighted to see Craig Moore score a penalty. We are both playing for the team."

He felt it was an easy win and added: "In the second half we had the game won and no disrespect to Queen's, but they weren't really cutting us open."

The striker expects the title race to be close and said: "We always knew it was going to be close, we have been there and thereabouts each season and jumping each other so we knew it was going to be tight but we must concentrate on ourselves. It's ours to throw away. We are in control and just need to make sure we keep winning our games, Raith have a game in hand on Tuesday so the pressure is on them a wee bit. We must take care of ourselves."

Ayr face East Fife away on Saturday and Shankland said: "It will be a tough game and they are a decent team but we are going up there to win."

Boss Ian McCall said after the game: "We made it comfortable with Lawrence's hat-trick. Defensively we were really sound and comfortable and it's not easy when Queen's are fighting for their lives."