IRELAND striker Jonathan Walters says it's a career highlight to have finally notched up the first hat-trick of his Premier League career.
Walters scored all three goals for Stoke in their 3-1 win QPR, a game watched by Roy Keane where Cork native Stephen Ireland also impressed as a stand-in for the injured Bojan, but Walters stole the show by scoring three times, becoming only the third Irish player to score a Premier League hat-trick (Leon Best, for Newcastle, and Robbie Keane also managed that feat).
"It was nice to get one," he said. "The first in the Premier League and the second of my career. I'll just keep plugging away now to make sure we keep in the direction we're going.
"My last was for Ipswich against Bristol City, at home when we won 6-0 and I got three of them. It was just a great day all round and hopefully we can continue this from now until the end of the season, keep getting the results we want to push us up the league.
"It's got to be one of the highlights of my career to score a hat-trick in the Premier League. I've played up front in the last few games and I'm just happy to get on the scoresheet. But it's only one game and we've got a big match next week at Newcastle," added Walters.
Roy Keane attended Stoke's game in his scouting capacity with the FAI and he will have been impressed with Stephen Ireland's role in the win, Walters also a fan of Ireland who is filling in for Bojan, out of for the season.
"Stephen Ireland, as well, was brilliant. Obviously it was a big loss to lose Bojan but Stevie came in and set up two of the goals," says striker Walters.
"It's a very unfortunate injury for Bojan. He's had a great start to his career here and he's a cracking lad. It shows the strength of the squad that Stevie could come in and play a similar role between the lines.
"In fact I thought the three in midfield, with Steven Nzonzi and Glenn Whelan too, were excellent," added Walters.