Luton Town striker James Collins was lost for words after capping his international debut for the Republic of Ireland with a goal against Bulgaria last night.
The 28-year-old was introduced for Scott Hogan after an hour, and was off the mark with five minutes to go, producing a typically predatory finish from Enda Stevens’ left wing cross to make it 3-1.
Speaking afterwards, Collins, who has netted three goals in the Championship for the Hatters this term, said: “I can’t describe how good that felt.
"To get my first cap for my country and top it off with a goal. I’m absolutely delighted.
“The gaffer changed a lot tonight but the lads who came in were excellent.
“I wasn’t the only one making my debut and I thought all the lads who made their debut were excellent.”
Boss Mick McCarthy was quick to heap praise on the Town attacker as well, as he told Sky Sports: “I love the fact that James gets in the box and scores.
“I loved his performance.
“James came on and bashed the centre-back and he hated it.
“The centre-back rolled over even though James didn’t catch him.
“He got straight back up after getting him booked.
“James held it up. He ran in the channel. It was a proper centre-forward’s performance.”
After making 10 changes to the team from Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier draw with Switzerland, McCarthy felt his side got their rewards for a much-improved second half performance.,
He added: “The first half was awful. I know that. It’s a friendly.
“Does anybody find Republic v Bulgaria a sexy fixture after all the games that had gone (in the last week)?
“We had to get ourselves up for that. It was a different team.
“The second half was very different and I think overall, we deserved to win.
"They had a lot of possession but didn’t really hurt us.”