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Change of footwear inspired Waterworth to hat-trick heroics

By Alex Mills

Hat-trick hero Andy Waterworth admitted his sensational second half performance against Cliftonville was all down to a change of boots at half-time!

The 30-year-old striker bagged a dramatic 15-minute treble which guaranteed Linfield's first title in five years.

Up until that point, David Healy's boys had huffed and puffed and looked like anything but champions-elect.

But while the manager was having a little rant and reminding the players of their responsibilities, handy Andy decided a change of footwear may be the answer - and he hit the jackpot.

"I wasn't happy with my first half display, so I decided to change from my Umbro white Specialis to my orange Velocitas and thankfully it paid off," said Waterworth.

"We were nervous and just didn't function the way we can. In fact, we were a bit embarrassed by our first half performance.

"Once we got our first goal, it turned it - goals change games. After it went in, we were a different side."

Waterworth labelled his second goal as 'probably the best' of his career. He took off on a dazzling solo dash before producing the perfect finish.

"It will probably go down as the best goal of my career, such was the importance of it," he added. "I felt if we got one, we would go on to win the game and that's what happened.

"Once we were awarded the penalty, Aaron Burns asked me didn't I want it for my hat-trick. I missed two last year - one of them was against the Reds when Peter Burke saved my shot. I knew he would dive to the right, so I just decided to dink it.

"It's been a roller coaster season. You probably couldn't have written the script.

"It's a credit to the boys which has underpinned the character we have in the dressing room. We haven't been beaten since early January. We have a quality side, with a lot of young players coming through. This club is a great place to be at the minute."

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