Collins: Hatters treble was my best yet

James Collins nets the first of his treble against Yeovil yesterday
James Collins nets the first of his treble against Yeovil yesterday

New boy James Collins labelled his opening day hat-trick for the Hatters yesterday as the best of his career to date.

The forward, who joined in the summer from Crawley Town, has netted three trebles during his time as a pro, before making it four in stunning fashion, as Hatters thumped Yeovil Town 8-2 during the opening day of the campaign.

Collins, 26, first picked up the match ball for the Republic of Ireland U21s as they thrashed Liechtenstein U21s 4-1 in a friendly back in 2011.

He then replicated the achievement on two occasions for Swindon Town, beginning at Stoke in a 4-3 Carling Cup triumph in 2012, then amazingly, a 12 minute treble against Portsmouth after only coming off the bench on the hour mark, making it four in 22 minutes, on New Year's Day 2013.

However, yesterday's topped the lot, as he said: “I've scored on a few of my debuts before, but never a hat-trick, so it's a first again for me.

“I've only ever had three in my career, but today was probably by favourite as it was for my new club in front of a good crowd and we also got three points, so I'll take today over the other three.

“To get a hat-trick at any stage in your career us a good achievement, so to get it on your first game for your new club in front of a full crowd and in front of your family and friends, is something to cherish.”

Collins could have been off the mark before his first goal came, as inside 30 seconds, he raced clear only to be denied by Artur Krysiak.

That was pretty much the only battle the Yeovil stopper won against Town's new boy from there on though, as Collins continued: “I had a couple of chances early on and was disappointed with myself not to put them away, but to come off at the end of the game with a hat-trick, I can't complain.

“I was delighted I could put the first two chance behind me and get the third.”

For Collins' second goal, strike partner Isaac Vassell was on hand for a tap-in to net his treble, but seeing the whites of the keeper's eyes, there was no way Town's new hero was passing.

He said: “If I'd have missed, Isaac would have probably have had a go at me, but if a striker's in on goal, it's very rare he's going to pass it and I'm just delighted I could stick it away and go on to get a hat-trick.

“I just looked to hit the target (for my third), I don't know if he's (Krysiak) seen it late, but just for it go in, I'm delighted."

Boss Jones was certainly more than happy to see his striker take on the responsibility rather than pass up the shooting opportunity.

He added: "We want clinical ones here, want ruthless ones and there's no way he was going to do that (pass) because he's an excellent finisher.

"He's come here to score goals, he was at a good club anyway, but showed a lot of ambition to come here.

"He recognises what we're trying to do, and we're delighted to have him. We've still got Hylts (Danny Hylton) to come back as well, so competition is going to be rife.