CELTIC misfit Daryl Murphy has given Martin O’Neill a European championship boost.
The striker, who netted only three goals from 19 league appearances during his three-year Hoops’ stint, scored his first-ever hat-trick as Ipswich hammered rock-bottom Rotherham 5-2.
Murphy won the Championship’s Golden Boot last season with 27 goals, but, despite agreeing a new two-year deal, hadn’t claimed a solitary strike during a barren campaign until the weekend.
And boss Mick McCarthy reckons his return to form is good news for O’Neill as the Republic of Ireland prepare for the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off tie away to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday.
The Portman Road gaffer said: “Everyone is delighted for him. It’s lovely to have him back playing. I’m really pleased for him.
“Form is temporary, class is permanent. I hope that rule fits for him. I was certain he was going to get the goals after the last three performances when he worked really hard.
“Daryl will get chances when he plays like that.
“I would imagine he has put himself in Martin O’Neill’s mind, although I don’t pick anyone’s side for them.
“However, the goals have come at a nice time.”
McCarthy added: “It was a great game for us, it should have been better, but I don’t know how better a 5-2 victory away from home gets.
“Overall, it was an outstanding performance, we scored five and we could have had another three or four. We were running riot in the first-half.
“I’ll enjoy the result and performance, but their two goals could have cost us. I don’t like that, we should have been more secure than that.”
Rotherham boss Neil Redfearn moaned: “It must have been the 35th minute before we had a centre-half win a header, Murphy had his own way too much, but we just looked like we were going to concede.
“We were really negative in midfield, we didn’t get close to them, we didn’t work hard enough and we didn’t do the ugly stuff well.”