Cullen: Hat-trick against Luton was a career highlight

Mark Cullen opens the scoring for Blackpool against Luton
Mark Cullen opens the scoring for Blackpool against Luton

Scoring a hat-trick in the play-offs against his former side was right up there in his career highlights to date according to Blackpool striker Mark Cullen.

The 25-year-old moved to Bloomfield Road from Luton Town back in the summer of 2015 for £180,000 after scoring 24 times in 83 games while with the Hatters.

I scored a hat-trick when I was there as well, so they knew what I was capable of.

Mark Cullen

Cullen, who had netted just nine goals in 37 games this term, then repaid a large chunk of that fee last night, with a treble that saw his side take a 3-2 advantage to the second leg in Bedfordshire on Tuesday night.

Speaking to the Tangerines’ official website, the forward said: “I thought it was a really good game throughout. For a player to score goals, it’s alway pleasing, but to get three in one game, in a play-off game as well, it’s a big highlight of my career so far.

“I scored a hat-trick when I was there as well (against Dagenham & Redbridge), so they knew what I was capable of.

“Play-off games are often cagey affairs as there’s so much at stake. But they (Luton) came out and gave it a good go and we did it as well.

“Even people watching on telly would have seen a good game of football.”

Cullen’s first goal came courtesy of a low shot that squirmed beyond Stuart Moore’s grasp, although there was no doubting the quality of his second, a wonderful curler into the top corner from 25 yards.

The third was from the spot after Hatters skipper Scott Cuthbert was penalised for holding Tom Aldred, as on his treble, Cullen said: “Me and ‘Vass’ (Kyle Vassell) tried to have a little link up and it ricocheted to me so I thought I’d hit it hard and low.

“The goalkeeper had a little fumble and it crept in, but it got me up and running.

“We said at half-time we were still in the game and we’d make more chances, and I managed to curl one into the top corner early doors which was nice.

“Then, to get my hat-trick from the penalty spot was really nice. I missed my first one against Doncaster, so it took a bit of courage to be honest and I was pleased it went it. I’ve nicked three goals so I can’t complain too much.”

Cullen, who had received a decent ovation when substituted in the 1-0 defeat for his side at Kenilworth Road last month, doesn’t think it will be quite as kind in three days time now, adding: “I got a good reception when I went down to Luton earlier in the season.

“To be fair, the reception I get there on Thursday might not be the same but it’s part and parcel of football, people move clubs and you have to take it.

“We’ll go down there and we’re under no illusions it’s going to be another tough game so we’ll have to be right at it again.

“They finished fourth in the league for a reason, they’re a good, strong side, they’ve had a good season.

“They’ll be right at it come Thursday night so we’ll have to be up for it ourselves.”