Rickie Lambert hailed his fairy-tale first-touch England winner, three minutes after coming off the bench against Scotland, as “unbelievable”.
The Southampton striker, formerly of Macclesfield Town and Rochdale, headed England's third goal almost immediately after replacing Wayne Rooney.
“It is beyond my wildest dreams,” said Lambert, who was picked for his first ever England squad. “It has been a whirlwind. I have been trying to play it cool as if it is not a big deal but the kid inside me wants to scream out loud.”
Lambert's goal proved England's winner after they came back from 1-0 and then 2-1 down. “I didn't know it was my first touch until after. From a corner I fancied myself. What a ball from Leighton [Baines], exactly where I wished it to go. And I managed to get rid of my marker and get a firm header. I caught it sweet, probably the best header of my career. To see it in the back of the net was unbelievable.”
England manager Roy Hodgson praised Lambert's confidence. “You don't have to say anything to him, he is so enthusiastic, he has been like a young boy with a new toy ever since he joined us.”
The fact that Lambert won England the game made it even more satisfying for Hodgson. “It's more satisfying still that it was won by a fairytale goal from Rickie Lambert. He's been a breath of fresh air while with us, he is so happy to be part of the squad, and what a wonderful story that he crowned it with the winning goal.”
Although Scotland twice went ahead, through James Morrison and Kenny Miller, Hodgson was pleased that they equalised through Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck before Lambert's winner.
“Certainly defensively where there are a few holes in our game we'd like to see disappear. But it was a very positive performance. We took plenty of risks with the ball, got players forward, created many more opportunities and dangerous situations than in past games. That's very positive. Maybe the most positive is to come from behind.”