Jay Rodriguez dedicated his 50th Burnley goal to his late grandad, Brian, after leading the Clarets to a big first win since the Premier League’s restart.
Rodriguez dived to head home Dwight McNeil’s 73rd-minute cross to give the Clarets a 1-0 victory over Watford which took them to 42 points and 11th place in the table.
And the goal – 12 years after his first for the club in a League Cup tie against Fulham – was the perfect way for the Burnley-born striker to pay tribute to a family figure who had helped shape his early career.
“You always like to reach milestones and I was really happy to get that,” said Rodriguez, who has now scored nine times since returning for his second spell at Turf Moor last summer.
“I lost my grandad recently and I was really proud to dedicate that one to him.
“He would have been proud of that because he was a Burnley man and loved watching me.
“I appreciate every goal I score and to do it for my hometown club is even more special.
“To get to 50 is something I had never dreamed of as a kid growing up.
“I have managed to do that and hopefully I can get many more. It was nice that it was an important one as well to get us the three points. That’s what you always want.”
The Clarets’ eighth home win of the season, which followed a superb first 45 minutes and a gritty defensive display after the break, was the perfect way for Sean Dyche’s men to respond to a 5-0 defeat at Manchester City which was a tough night on and off the pitch.
And if there was any doubt that top-flight football still needed to be secured, then that was surely removed by Rodriguez’s fine finish which left Watford just one point above the relegation zone.
“To bounce back and to perform like we did I think shows the character and drive we’ve got in the team and hopefully we can carry it on,” Rodriguez added.
“We are now looking above. It’s credit to the lads, the staff and everyone involved that we have done well this year.”
On a landmark occasion - and the hottest night of the year - the Clarets played their first ever league game in June and first behind closed doors because of the protocols around Covid-19.
And Rodriguez admitted it wasn’t the ideal way to return to Turf Moor after 110 days away.
“You’d be lying if you said it was fine,” he told Clarets Player HD. “You do miss the crowd, the noise, the atmosphere and the tension.
“At times they do get you through sticky patches and or even will you to get a goal.
“It’s something we’ve got to get used to and I thought tonight we managed it really well.
“But we do miss the fans. It’s weird celebrating, but you do it because you’re helping the team.”