JORDY Clasie admits he went from the “worst feeling ever” to sheer delight after he struck the winning goal in Saints’ 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.
Clasie had been absent from the starting 11 for seven games heading into The Hawthorns match, but was handed a place in midfield in the absence of first-choice duo Steven Davis and Oriol Romeu.
"It’s the worst feeling ever [not playing]," he said. "All I wanted to do is play and get some minutes.
"I knew already this kind of situation can happen in your career and for me now is that moment.
"It was nine or ten difficult weeks out, but now I’m happy that I make some minutes after two and a half months away."
The Dutchman produced a stunning strike on 25 minutes from Dusan Tadic’s lay off to send Saints bouncing into the final eight games of the season with dreams of breaking into the top eight.
Clasie says that climbing above West Brom above them is "not mission impossible" after claiming seven points from three games in the space of a week.
"This is a very important win for us," he said. "We know already in the last couple of weeks that other clubs are close to each other from the bottom to 10th place, so we knew we had to take some points this week.
"We’ve done that with seven points from three games, so this is a perfect week for us and we’ve also climbed the table."
"Of course, why not, it’s not mission impossible," he added, when asked if Saints could bypass the Baggies.
"It's four points, but you need to be honest as well. We have some difficult games in the last eight games, but we have to look at it each game as it comes.
"We just have to look forward to the next couple of games and hopefully we will catch them."
It was a marvellous winning goal – his first in the Premier League and replica of his only other striker for Saints in the 2-0 win at Arsenal in the EFL Cup quarter-final.
"I think if the ball comes to you in that kind of area the only thing you can do is shoot. Sometimes you hit it badly and it goes in the stands, but other times not," he said.
The 25-year-old has made 23 appearancecs in all competitons this season but, along with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, found himself struggling for game time behind Romeu and Davis.
But with Romeu suspended and Davis injured (ankle), the duo got their chance to prove a point to manager Claude Puel.
"It’s always hard if you’re on the bench or not in the squad, but the team had done well," he said.
"Romeu and Davis, they play in our (his and Hojbjerg's) positions, and they are very good. They’ve been doing the job well.
"It’s hard for the coach to make these kind of decisions to put players on the bench or out of the squad, but you have to wait for your chance.
"It’s a bit lucky that we got the chance today because Davo got injured and hopefully he’ll come back soon and Oriol’s suspended for two games.
"Sometimes time you have to have a bit of luck."