Shane Long finally broke his barren streak on Tuesday night and the Ireland striker admitted that the eleven-month goalscoring drought had been playing on his mind.

The Southampton forward scored the opening goal of his side’s 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, having gone 1320 minutes without scoring in the Premier League.

And now, with the Saints hovering just above the relegation zone in England’s top flight, the Tipperary native is hoping that the St Mary’s strike can prove the catalyst for a goalscoring run.

"I'm an experienced player. It's hard not to let it get on top of you when you're not scoring, but I just kept plugging away," said Long following the home defeat.

"It's nice to see it hit the back of the net. Frustrating it didn't get us three points, but nice to get it off my back and hopefully I can kick on from here on in."

Southampton have 20 points from 22 games played this season and are only avoiding the dreaded bottom three due to a superior goal difference to Stoke City, who sit one place below in 18th.

And Mauricio Pellegrino's team must now wait until Saturday 13 January to right their league woes when they face a tough task away at Vicarage Road against Watford.

Despite his lack of goals, Long has worked his way back into the Southampton starting XI in recent weeks and his high-octane performances will be needed as the south coast side look to get their season back on track.

Long was naturally disappointed with the result against Palace, given they took the lead in the game, but the former Reading striker insists that team spirit and a sense of belief, combined with the vocal home support, will guide his side to safety.

"It's very frustrating, very disappointing," said Long.

"We knew it was a massive game, and going 1-0 up and playing some good football, I thought we could have gone on and got two or three.

"Fair play to Palace, they held on in there and the longer the game went on the more they grew into it.

"We knew what they were about, we knew that the ball would come into the box and it was all about second runs off Benteke and they scored from it.

"It was a bit of a sucker punch for us, and when you're in the situation that we're in it's hard to get out of – you need that win, you need that bit of luck to go your way.

"We've got a good side, we've got good players and we just need to start believing. It's frustrating for us and for the fans, but we need them now more than ever."