Pablo in high spirits

EVEN the failure to hit his first hat-trick could not dampen Pablo Counago's ardour after scoring his first goal in open play this season, followed by a neat penalty, writes Derek Davis.

EVEN the failure to hit his first hat-trick could not dampen Pablo Counago's ardour after scoring his first goal in open play this season, followed by a neat penalty, writes Derek Davis.

The Spanish striker's brace gave Town all three points against a dogged Rotherham side and he was involved in some contentious penalty decisions along the way.

Counago flew to Scotland straight after the game to visit friends with his girlfriend, no doubt leaving behind a couple of bottles of champagne. Not that it would have mattered – he was intoxicated, by the heady result and his two goals.

He said: "It was fabulous to score two goals and I'm happy for me and for the team. It was the win we needed, especially after last season. It is a great result for us. I'm so happy that we won that I don't care about not getting a hat-trick. That would have been nice but it is more important for the team to win than for me to get hat-tricks."

A clever back-heel went close from a Jim Magilton cross and a similar effort later from a Matt Richards' ball went wide, while he was twice denied near the goal-line, after wriggling into position to have shots blocked.

The 24-year-old admitted the first half was hardly worth sending a postcard home about, in fact "barusa" – meaning rubbish in Spanish – summed it up well. But he added: "We played really well second half and got the goals. Rotherham lost their heads a little and we kept ours to make sure we won."

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Counago was quick to praise his team-mates – and the Town fans. He said: "Other players played well and might have won it. As for the supporters, I still can't get over how brilliant they are to me and the team.

"They have been behind me ever since I got here and even when I was not scoring they were singing my name. Now I have scored for them and that makes me happy."

Counago's consistency makes him a virtual certainty to make his 50th starting appearance for Town on Saturday at Bradford.

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