Banbridge’s Aaron Burns has been basking in glory after he scored the winning goal in Linfield’s 1-0 win over Greek side Xanthi.
He grabbed the winner after 25 minutes with a left-foot shot past Christian Gimenez, following good work down the left by Michael Carvill.
Having just rejoined the Blues after a spell at Portadown, Burns says it was the most important goal he has scored for the Blues.
“I was just glad to get the nod to start the game and I’m so glad to make a contribution to what was a great result for the club,” he told the club’s website.
“It’s nights like tonight that I came back to Linfield for. It’s great to be back and I’m working hard and it’s paying off for me.”
A sign of the fact that he’s enjoying his time back at the Blues, Burns celebrated his goal with Blues boss David Jeffrey.
“It was my first goal in Europe and I just ran to the manager to say a big thank you to him. There were probably some people who didn’t want me back here but the manager has always backed me 100%, so that one is for him tonight.
“He always told me to come back and get my head down and work hard and give of my best, as he really believed in me so I hope that goal goes some way to repaying him for the faith he’s shown in me.”
If you have thought it has been roasting at night here over the last few weeks spare a thought for anyone playing football in Greece, as ‘Burnsey’ will testify.
“The weather was warm. Thankfully, it wasn’t as warm as Cyprus but it was still quite sticky. In Europe you have to adapt to these type of conditions and situations and thankfully we did.”
Burns believes the result is a positive for local football and thinks that Linfield can make it through to the next round.
“We know it’ll be really tough but if we can prevent them from creating clear cut chances like we did tonight, then hopefully we can make it through.
“We played like we believed we could win tonight and that will be the aim again next week. We’ve given ourselves a chance of progress and it would be great if we could finish the job next week.
“We’ve done our bit to put Northern Ireland football on the map. Everybody is talking about this result on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
“It’s good that supporters and players of other clubs can get behind us and want us to do well.”