Collins lost for words after scoring on Ireland debut

James Collins is mobbed after scoring his first goal for Ireland last night
James Collins is mobbed after scoring his first goal for Ireland last night

Luton Town striker James Collins was lost for words after capping his international debut for the Republic of Ireland with a goal against Bulgaria last night.

The 28-year-old was introduced for Scott Hogan after an hour, and was off the mark with five minutes to go, producing a typically predatory finish from Enda Stevens’ left wing cross to make it 3-1.

Speaking afterwards, Collins, who has netted three goals in the Championship for the Hatters this term, said: “I can’t describe how good that felt.

"To get my first cap for my country and top it off with a goal. I’m absolutely delighted.

“The gaffer changed a lot tonight but the lads who came in were excellent.

“I wasn’t the only one making my debut and I thought all the lads who made their debut were excellent.”

Boss Mick McCarthy was quick to heap praise on the Town attacker as well, as he told Sky Sports: “I love the fact that James gets in the box and scores.

“I loved his performance.

“James came on and bashed the centre-back and he hated it.

“The centre-back rolled over even though James didn’t catch him.

“He got straight back up after getting him booked.

“James held it up. He ran in the channel. It was a proper centre-forward’s performance.”

After making 10 changes to the team from Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier draw with Switzerland, McCarthy felt his side got their rewards for a much-improved second half performance.,

He added: “The first half was awful. I know that. It’s a friendly.

“Does anybody find Republic v Bulgaria a sexy fixture after all the games that had gone (in the last week)?

“We had to get ourselves up for that. It was a different team.

“The second half was very different and I think overall, we deserved to win.

"They had a lot of possession but didn’t really hurt us.”