Josh Campbell has thanked Hibernian team-mate Kevin Nisbet for handing him penalty duties so he could complete his hat-trick against Aberdeen on Saturday.
Campbell notched his third from 12 yards in the 88th minute of Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing – a result that led to Jim Goodwin being sacked as Dons manager just 19 minutes after full-time.
Regular penalty taker Nisbet – just 24 hours after turning down a move to Millwall – had first refusal but he was more than happy to hand the responsibility to Campbell.
And after coming close to netting a hat-trick with a brace in last September’s victory over Aberdeen, the 22-year-old was delighted to be leaving with the match ball.
Campbell said: “I’m still trying to take it in to be honest with you. It’s all a bit wild in my head.
“My first ever hat-trick, a couple of assists, you can’t ask for more than that.
“The last time I scored a hat-trick at any level was when I was about 10 playing for the school.
“That was the last time I played up front as well.
“The last time I scored two against them I was taken off straight after.
“There were a few of us in the changing room saying I was on a hat-trick at half-time. And I was saying: ‘Well, don’t take me off this time’.
“I’m buzzing that Nizzy (Nisbet) gave me the penalty, I couldn’t have asked for more. I ran forward and he saw me and I would like to thank him for that, it was a great thing to do.
“It’s massive for us that Kevin is staying. He’s a big player for us and he showed it when he came on and scored straight away.”
Campbell put Hibs on course for victory with a first-half brace, while Elie Youan also got on the score sheet just before the interval.
Nisbet added a fourth with a composed finish before Campbell and Will Fish completed the rout.
It was just Hibs’ third win from 11 outings and Campbell was delighted with the manner of the victory.
He added: “There was pressure on the game but we said in the changing room, if we got the first goal we were confident we could go on to win the game.
“And when we came in at half-time, we said if we got the next goal we could put it to bed and we did that.
“It has been a bit stop-start, we have had a few bad result but we have stayed together, we got close to each other in the changing room and it has worked out well.”
Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack addressed the media after the game to discuss the sacking of Goodwin, who replaced Stephen Glass in the dugout last February.
Cormack described the last three results as humiliating and embarrassing after a 5-0 defeat to Hearts and the heavy loss at Hibs sandwiched a Scottish Cup exit at the hands of West of Scotland league side Darvel.
Cormack, who was due to meet with the club’s hierarchy on Sunday to begin the search for a new boss, said: “The results since the World Cup (break) have been completely unacceptable.
“Personally, I feel I have let down the supporters. I met with Jim and he is a thoroughly-decent man as most of you know. He came and gave me a hug and said it wasn’t good enough.
“Jim is a very, very honourable and decent man, honest, trustworthy, transparent and I feel for him. This is a decision that both Jim and I said we immediately needed to make after the game.
“We really did not need to say much more than that. He has given it everything he could give it but the simple fact is the results since the World Cup have not been good enough.
“Our away form has just been abysmal – totally and utterly unacceptable. The players need to take responsibility too. It is always the managers who get it.
“Embarrassed, humiliated, just shell-shocked at the last week are the words I have. That’s how our fans feel and I feel for them, I apologise to them.
“It’s not a lack of investment. When running a business, whether it’s a football club or in my background in software companies, it’s about having a strategy and a vision and that’s all fair and well but it’s down to having the right people in place at the right time that are able to execute it.”