Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Linfield forward Paul Smyth speaks out about his dream QPR debut

By Adam McKendry

Scoring the winner on his QPR debut to down Cardiff City 2-1 has left Paul Smyth struggling for words.

With the game tied at 1-1 going into the last 20 minutes, former Linfield hitman Smyth raced onto a flick from strike partner Matt Smith and outpaced defender Bruno Ecuele Manga to the ball. From there, the young Ulsterman showed pace to take it away from the chasing Manga, before rifling high into the net for a goal on his first appearance.

The 20-year-old then produced an acrobatic celebration in front of the jubilant Loftus Road faithful, who sang his praises on social media after the game.

"There's no feeling, you can't explain it," said a delighted Smyth. "You just run around with excitement and a buzz, and you just celebrate.

"My signature celebration is the back flip so I was determined to get that in there and show it off! But there's no greater feeling than scoring at Loftus Road on my debut."

The Northern Ireland Under-21 international has had to wait his turn at QPR, who also have senior international Conor Washington among their forward options, but when presented with a chance he took it.

Having only joined from Linfield last August, where he scored eight goals in 29 league appearances last season, the young forward impressed for the Londoners' Under-23 side, earning him a start at the weekend.

And Smyth rewarded the faith manager Ian Holloway showed in him with a well-taken goal, albeit via a deflection from Cardiff centre-back Sol Bamba.

"I was just trying to get in the box and get a shot on goal," Smyth admitted.

"I was anticipating the flick, that's what you've got to do when you have Matt Smith up front who wins every flick on. Thankfully that one fell and I've anticipated it and gone through.

"If the defender pulled me down he's off the pitch so he kind of let me run on through, and I've hit a shot that's deflected but it was on target and went into the roof of the net."

Belfast Telegraph

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