The Republic of Ireland’s David McGoldrick was sorry that he couldn’t cap his man of the match performance with a goal, but he was more than happy to contribute to a hard-fought 1-0 win.
The Sheffield United man ploughed a lone furrow for much of the victory over Georgia at the Aviva Stadium as Ireland moved to the top of Group D in Euro 2020 qualifying.
He had a few chances, none of which he could convert, but his willingness to run and work was a major factor in the second win on the bounce at the start of Mick McCarthy’s second spell as Ireland boss.
"It was a 4-3-3, but they get the ball a lot and pass it around at the back so when it was cleared I knew I was on my own and had to hold the ball up. I thought I did that," he said.
He was taken off near the end as McCarthy went safety-first, putting on Wolves defender Matt Doherty, and was given a standing ovation by the 40,000-plus crowd at Lansdowne Road.
"It was surreal," he marvelled. "Getting an ovation like that was one of the proudest moments of my career. It was surreal and something I really appreciated.
"I was tired (coming off), but under this manager, to play at this level, you have to work your socks off. I put in a shift and that’s what the manager wanted form me."
In the second half McGoldrick was involved in two major incidents, the first when he fell in the box after his legs tangled with Soloman Kverkvelia’s. No penalty was awarded as referee Serdar Gözübüyük waved play on.
In the second, he couldn’t work an angle for himself and was pushed wide one-on-one by Georgian keeper Giorgi Loria, shooting wide.
"I don’t know why I would have gone down there and I said that to the referee," explained McGoldrick. "I thought he kicked my legs."
Speaking about his chance, he remarked: "I backed myself, but my touch could have been a bit better and I would have had an open goal.
"We got the three points though and we’re top of the group. We wanted six points from the two games, obviously Gibraltar was a different game and I had never played a game like that in those conditions, so to get six points is great."