Hat-trick hero Daryl Murphy never lost the faith despite his lack of goals

Daryl Murphy with the match ball after getting his hat-trick at Rotherham on Saturday

Daryl Murphy with the match ball after getting his hat-trick at Rotherham on Saturday

There was a sense of relief both on the pitch and in the stands as Daryl Murphy ended his goal drought in style on Saturday, but the Irish striker insisted his lack of goals never had him truly worried.

The 32-year-old led the Championship scoring charts with 27 goals during a sensational 2014/15 season but, following a summer disrupted by niggling injuries, found himself under the microscope as he failed to find the net in his first 14 outings of the new campaign.

His barren run came to a spectacular end as he claimed a hat-trick in the Blues’ 5-2 win at Rotherham on Saturday, with fellow players, fans and manager Mick McCarthy all visibly sharing in Murphy’s delight.

The striker believes his struggles in front of goal may have been harder to handle in his younger years, but admitted the fact he was still getting chances meant he was able to stay calm.

“I’ve been getting chances but I’ve just been unlucky in front of goal,” he said.

“If I’d been younger I may have been more worried but with my experience I know that if I get in good positions then the goal will come eventually. If I wasn’t getting the chances then that would have been when I started to worry.

“I thought about (last season) at one stage and by this stage I maybe had 10, so to have zero was tough.

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“But it was great to hear the fans, they were brilliant again and I heard them singing the chant again which was nice. I think the gaffer’s said he’s not heard it for a while and it means a lot to me to have scored.”

Saturday’s treble was Murphy’s first since moving to English football in 2005, and Ipswich’s first since Connor Wickham’s hat-trick at Doncaster in 2011, but the Irish international admitted his first was a little scruffy as he found the net after the ball was only partially cleared following a corner.

“It’s great to get my first hat-trick, I had a few braces in games last season but thankfully it’s happened for me now,” he said.

“It was nice, I knew I would get chances because I’d been getting them in previous games, but I didn’t hit it (first goal) cleanly, I’ve mis-kicked it a little and I’m lucky it’s gone in.”

While Murphy rightfully received the bulk of the post-match attention, the man himself reserved plenty of praise for fellow forwards Brett Pitman and Freddie Sears, who worked tirelessly at the New York Stadium.

He said: “We didn’t give them much time on the ball and I think two of our goals came from Freddie Sears closing down the keeper and defenders. That’s what we’re all about – a hard team to beat.

“They both work so hard, I was getting tired looking at Pitts at the end because he was doing so much running and Freddie’s been brilliant wherever he’s played.”

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