Jack Higgins has played down the controversy surrounding his crucial goal in St Kilda’s 15-point win over defending premiers Collingwood at the MCG on Thursday night. 

Higgins was on the boundary line in the forward pocket when he snapped his fourth goal late in the final quarter, helping give the Saints breathing space before they sealed a 14.10 (94) to 12.7 (79) victory.

The moment sparked debate about whether Higgins was out of bounds when he took his shot on goal from 40 metres out.

It was reminiscent of one of the darkest moments in Collingwood history, when Carlton’s Wayne Harmes knocked the ball back into play from about the same spot at a critical moment in the Blues’ win in the 1979 grand final.

But Higgins deflected the controversy when he spoke to the Seven Network after the match, joking that his goal was like jockey Craig Williams being handed a poor barrier draw at Caulfield Racecourse.

“I felt like Craig Williams, I was in the Monash Uni car park out at Caulfield,” he said.

“So it wasn’t bad, so I’ll take it.”

Speaking to the media after the match, Collingwood coach Craig McRae chose to focus on his side’s performance, which left the Magpies winless after three matches.

“You can see fundamental skills that are just sloppy, rusty, clunky,” he said.

“There are a lot of fundamental errors that we’re making, from experienced players, that you wouldn’t expect.

“We have some of our best players, and some of the most decorated players you’ve seen in the game, are somewhat … we’re all in this.

“It’s time to get busy, isn’t it.”

McRae added: “At the end of the day, if you have too much cheese on your lasagne, it doesn’t matter. It won’t affect the result.

“The cheese on the lasagne, that doesn’t matter. You have to get busy and do the things right. The fundamentals of the game are really important and that’s where we’ll put our energy.”

The win was St Kilda’s first of the season after it lost to Geelong in its opening match.

The Saints play Essendon next weekend, while the Magpies meet the Brisbane Lions in a grand final rematch at the Gabba on Thursday night.