Their union, only in its third match since Hirst's pounds 1.2m transfer, seems sure to be fruitful and each sparkling burst was a gentle reminder that they might have assumed a greater stage together. But both have been denied the long international careers their talents might have justified in other circumstances.
Their most telling combination yesterday gave Southampton their fourth goal just as the Yorkshire side were beginning to hint at something which might have given them respectability, if not equality.
Le Tissier had not finished changing his footwear (into this season's favoured red pair) when he dispossessed Ales Krizan on the right. He surged forward and slipped the ball to Hirst, whose shot almost took the goalkeeper David Watson into the net with it. If the Barnsley boy was ecstatic at scoring against his hometown club, Le Tissier had no time for celebrations, nonchalantly finishing tying his boots.
If that goal sealed Southampton's victory, the tone of the match was set in the third minute. Barnsley conceded a penalty when Adrian Moses was harshly judged to have bundled over Kevin Davies and Le Tissier scored.
Three minutes later Carlton Palmer got the second, easily sending home Matthew Oakley's cross to complete a move which epitomised Barnsley's shoddy defending.
Davies scored the third after 36 minutes, profiting from the Le Tissier- Hirst partnership and although Jovo Bosancic's penalty for Barnsley threatened a revival, Southampton and their two vintage forwards were too shrewd to allow it to progress too far.Reuse content