Tom Cairney admitted to feeling ‘bittersweet’ about scoring the winner against his old club – but was delighted to extend Fulham’s unbeaten start to the season.
The Scottish midfielder, who left Ewood Park to join Fulham for £3.5m last summer, returned to haunt Rovers yesterday with a stoppage time winner that leaves his old side without a win in their first six games. Cairney told Fulham’s official website after the final whistle that it was ‘one hell of a feeling’ to secure a priceless three points with a swing of his trusted left foot deep into added time.
It’s one of a hell of a feeling. The ball just fell to me like I placed it there myself, it was perfect and as soon as I hit it, I knew it was in and what a feeling running off with the boys into the corner [to celebrate].
Despite the joyous nature of his celebrations, it is clear that Cairney is still very fond of Blackburn and shares the fans’ sense of unease at the direction Rovers are being taken in by their Venky’s ownership.
It is bittersweet. I had a great two years here, I’m thankful for everything Blackburn did for me, I had a great time, we had a good team and stuff, things change, people move on and it’s not really the same team that I played in. I do have a lot of respect and love this club still, so it is bittersweet.
Cairney has called on his Fulham team-mates to believe that they can win promotion back to the Premier League this season. Whilst his head coach Slavisa Jokanovic has emphasised the arduous nature of the Championship season, his key midfielder sees no reason why this new-look side can’t challenge at the top of the table.
I think we’ve got to believe. Some of the football we’ve played this season, we’ve still unbeaten with five wins out of seven, we’ve got to believe – why not? We’re playing some great stuff and it’s great to be a part of.
The match winner also had some warm words of praise for new signing Neeskens Kebano, who enjoyed an impressive debut just a day after joining from Genk, whom he played for in the Europa League on Thursday night.
He’s only had a day or so, but on first impressions, I think he’s been fantastic. He brings pace, trickery and he’s got a decent football brain so the competition for places is brilliant and, for his debut, I think he did outstanding.