Callum Robinson scored the first Republic of Ireland hat-trick since Robbie Keane in 2014 but he's not getting away with comparisons to Ireland’s greatest ever goalscorer just yet.
Robinson, whose first-half double in Azerbaijan on Saturday set up a 3-0 World Cup qualifying victory, repeated the trick inside 13 minutes against Qatar at the Aviva Stadium and then added a third eight minutes after the restart.
Robinson is the first Ireland player to complete a treble since Keane did so against Gibraltar in October 2014, but while he’s flattered by any comparison, he admits he still has much to do to match the Tallaght frontman.
The West Brom striker was named the player of the match against Qatar and afterwards told RTÉ Sport; "I could say I’m ready to follow someone like Robbie Keane but what a hell of player he was, it’s a hell of an achievement for myself to be named with players like him.
"I’ve got a long way to go before I can put my name against his but I’ll keep working hard and hopefully keep scoring goals for my country."
It was a perfect way to round off a week that had begun in trying circumstances for Robinson who found himself in the headlines last week after revealing he had not been vaccinated against Covid-19 despite twice testing positive for the virus.
What a fantastic goal! Callum Robinson slides home to complete his hat-trick after a lovely Ireland move.— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) October 12, 2021
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The striker came in for some harsh criticism for his decision but revealed that his team-mates had rallied around and he thanked them for their support.
"They’ve have been there for me all week with what went on in the press and stuff," he said. "We stick together and I’d do the same.
"You could see by the way I was playing, nothing was in my head and I just wanted to get the results.
"I was buzzing to get two the other night and had chances to get a hat-trick, but it wasn’t to be with some good saves from the keeper. So obviously I was optimistic to get a hat-trick tonight but I got there in the end and I got that ball."
Robinson believes that tonight’s win and the result against Azerbaijan have been a long time coming and now Ireland are finally getting the results that their play has deserved.
"I’ve said previously that the way we were playing, results were going to come. We’ve just proved that what I said was true," he said.
"Tonight we literally out-footballed Qatar who are a very good team, they’ve got a lot of quality in their team.
"We went to Azerbaijan the other night and won 3-0, we’ve won 4-0 tonight so what more can you ask for?"