GOALSCORER Nathan Tella dedicated his first Premier League strike to his late grandfather, adding: “That was my first thought once the ball hit the back of the net.”

Tella was the star of the show as Saints beat Fulham 3-1 at St Mary’s on Saturday.

The 21-year-old came off the bench and just two minutes later slotted home his first Saints goal, on his 21st appearance for the club’s senior side.

Asked if there was anybody in particular he would dedicate such a special moment in his career to, Tella told the Daily Echo: “My grandad. He passed away a couple of weeks ago, but him really.

“That was my first thought once the ball hit the back of the net. I thought of my family, I thought of him and I know he’s just proud of me and I am dedicating that goal to him.”

Tella’s strike came in Saints’ final behind-closed-doors game of the season, with supporters set to return on Tuesday, when Leeds United visit St Mary’s.

“Of course I wanted my family here,” said the Stevenage-born ace.

“But knowing my mum, she would’ve screamed so loud the whole stadium would’ve known that it was her son that had scored!

“Perhaps she did it at home. It’s a great feeling.”

Speaking last month, Tella said he had been getting advice off his team-mates, telling him not to worry about the wait for his first Saints goal.

But he admits he was relieved to finally break the duck.

He said: “Yeah, it’s been a long time! I’ve had chances this season but I’ve known even myself I’ve got to be so much better than that.

“But (on Saturday) I’m just thankful that it was able to go in the back of the net, I’m just delighted. It’s just an amazing and unforgettable experience. I’m so happy.”

Asked what was going through his mind when the ball came across from Kyle Walker-Peters for him to tap home, Tella added: “Just get the right contact. Che (Adams) put one into me against Leicester and I just completely fluffed my lines when I was thinking too much about the goal and not the contact.

“But (on Saturday) as it came in, my first thought was contact and try and get it into the goal.

“I just feel happy that I was able put it in the back of the net and just thankful for Kyle for getting the ball into that area.”