Lee O'Connor will float back to the Republic of Ireland Under-21s on cloud nine after marking his senior debut with a peach of an assist and an assured display.
He watched Stephen Kenny’s side edge past Armenia on Thursday lunchtime and fired off a few texts of congratulations before focusing on the small matter of making his full international debut.
The Celtic 19-year-old produced a confident performance that was garlanded with a super ball onto Callum Robinson’s head for Ireland’s third goal in a 3-1 defeat of New Zealand.
Having made the move to Glasgow over the summer, the former Manchester United academy prospect has had a whirlwind few months, and he admitted that, at times, it’s been hard to process.
"My whole family came up and my friends," said the Waterford native.
"It was a great moment for me and for them. It’s something you work for your whole life. To get it at 19 years of age is a dream come true… it doesn’t get much better.
"I felt fine. At the start you have a couple of butterflies but once the whistle blows you just have to get on with it."
O’Connor now sets his sights on Tuesday’s Under-21s qualifier against Sweden in Tallaght. He had a very close eye on his team-mates 1-0 win in Yerevan earlier on Thursday, and said he was besieged with messages of encouragement from his underage team-mates ahead of the clash with the All Whites.
"It’s a great result for the lads and it puts us in great stead for Tuesday’s game, which I’m looking to be involved in.
"We’re a very together group in the Under-21s. I’m enjoying it. You kind of have to stop for a minute and take it all in. It’s been a crazy few months but very enjoyable."
O’Connor linked up well with the returning Robbie Brady on Ireland’s right. He hopes he’ll get more opportunities to show what he can do in McCarthy’s team, but for now the twin targets are victory with the Under-21s and a breakthrough into the first team at Celtic, where he has yet to make a senior appearance.
"Everyone was very welcoming," he added. "They just said, 'do what got you here’, that I’m here for a reason, to play my normal game… to just play football.
"Of course there’s a big step-up, but I think I done well. I’m happy with my performance. Hopefully it’s the first of many.
"The assist was a great moment for me. Robbie’s left footed. It kind of played into my hands, I could go around the outside. I thought we worked well together.
"That’s what I want to do now, push for the first team at Celtic. Hopefully I can."