Danny Ings was elated after writing his name into Southampton folklore with a derby brace in his hometown club’s record win at Portsmouth.
Tuesday’s Carabao Cup third-round clash at Fratton Park was the first meeting of these bitter rivals since 2012 and a chance for Saints to win in enemy territory for the first time in 35 years.
Pompey belied their League One problems during a fine start, only for the Premier League quality of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side to tell as the visitors romped to a 4-0 victory.
It was Southampton’s largest ever victory at Portsmouth and local lad Ings was the architect, netting a fine first-half brace to seal his place as a hometown hero.
“It means the world to the fans,” the forward told the PA news agency. “To me being from Southampton, it’s a huge moment.
“When the draw was made I couldn’t believe my luck to be playing in another derby in my hometown derby.
“It was massive. We knew this was going to be an occasion, we knew it was going to be tough coming here with the atmosphere and how well supported Pompey are.
“Our fans were terrific and they sung from start to finish and they really helped us get over the line to get the win.”
Asked if scoring against Pompey was something he had dreamed of, Ings said: “It’s a crazy feeling. It really is.
“I’ve been very fortunate to play in big derbies, but for me personally this one tops it.
“When the draw was made, I just couldn’t wait for the fixture and when I got the nod to play I was just so excited to step over the white line and do my best for the club.”
Ings was proud of a “professional performance” in challenging conditions against a hard-working side roared on by the Fratton Park crowd, who continued to chant even after late Cedric Soares and Nathan Redmond strikes.
“It was absolutely electric,” the 27-year-old said. “Credit to both sets of fans, really, for making it so, so electric.
“Our fans were just unbelievable from start to finish and it really helps in these derby games to stay strong for the whole 90 minutes.
“When their fans are behind them it gives them spells. But I thought we looked solid, we took our chances very well and a well-deserved win.”
‘Danny Ings, he’s one of our own’ echoed around the away end as the striker spoke to the media at the end of a “great night all-round for everybody at the club”.
It was a terrific response to the 3-1 league loss to Bournemouth on Friday and Ings hopes it can provide the platform for individual and collective improvements ahead of the trip to wounded Tottenham this weekend.
“It’s a huge game, it’s a huge game to be part of,” the former Liverpool forward said of the south coast derby.
“We all knew how fortunate we were to be part of it. These things don’t come around all the time when the two teams are in different leagues.
“But we took the opportunity and hopefully we can take confidence from this going into Spurs at the weekend.”
While Saints return to Premier League action, under-fire Pompey boss Kenny Jackett leads his side in League One against Bolton this weekend.
Pompey defender Brandon Haunstrup said: “It’s a game I really wanted to be involved in so we’re gutted at the result, but seeing how the fans were with us at the final whistle was unreal.
“They gave everything for us for the full 90 minutes and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t pay them back.”
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