THREE really is the magic number for Swindon Town midfielder Michael Doughty, who celebrated a match-winning hat-trick on his return to the County Ground against Macclesfield Town on Saturday.

Doughty scored a header from close range to bring Swindon level on 48 minutes before two injury-time penalties secured Phil Brown’s troops a win on the first day of the League Two season.

The number three, who rejoined the club on a two-year deal this summer, explained his reasoning behind choosing his shirt number, with numerology theories suggest that his number represents creativity.

He said: “I’ll get stick for this but my fiancé quite likes numerology. There weren’t many numbers left when I arrived and she said choose number three.

“It’s the magic number as they say, and the irony was getting a hat-trick on opening day wearing the number three.

“Three is something to do with creativity and that is something I’m looking to bring to the club. The position I played in last year (at Peterborough) wasn’t natural for me.

“I wanted to come to a place which I knew and cared about where I could ultimately play in the position that would be most productive for my career.”

Doughty suggested the managerial partnership of Phil Brown and Neil McDonald – plus the input of experienced winger Matt Taylor – played a key part in his faultless opening day performance.

The 25-year-old admitted he plans to be a creative force within Town’s midfield ranks, which were boosted over the summer by Brown who added six capable middle men.

Doughty said: “When I’m in a Swindon shirt I can be a creative force, and I believe that can continue for the rest of the season.

“The amount of chances I could get on the end of was testament to the manager. He’s gave me that confidence and belief that I possibly lacked last year.

“He (Phil Brown) has been magnificent with me since I arrived. Hopefully that will be a driving part of my game this year – to score and create for the team.

“We showed a lot of character, but we certainly didn’t make it easy for ourselves.

“I think it was perhaps more enjoyable for the fans than it was for us, but it was day one.”