SIMON COX admitted that he handled the ball in the lead-up to the key moment in Ireland's win over Armenia last night.
Ireland were given a large dose of good fortune when Spanish referee Eduardo Iturralde Gonzalez failed to see that a pass from Glenn Whelan had struck off the arm of Cox, while the ref them managed to see -- to the great annoyance of the away side -- that keeper Roman Berezovsky connected the ball with his arm outside the box as he tried to clear the danger from Cox.
The outcome? A red card for the experienced Berezovsky, a 20-year-old kid who is Armenia's third-choice 'keeper thrown into action, and a massive advantage for the home side.
"I tried to control the ball and it brushed my arm. I tried to lob the keeper, whether it hit his arm or not I don't know, it was too quick for me to see. Maybe it was a bit of luck for us and a bit of bad luck for them," Cox admitted.
"It would have been harsh to give a free against me, it wasn't a deliberate handball. I tried to bring the ball down and it brushed my arm. Some decisions you get and some you don't and I got that one and they didn't. But we're very happy with that. We went into the game with the right mentality and we got the right result," added Cox.
It was a big night for the West Brom man as Giovanni Trapattoni was taking a big risk by picking Cox -- a fringe player with West Brom at the moment and a newcomer to inter-national football -- ahead of the more experienced and in-from Shane Long, but Cox delivered. "I was pleased with my own game, I did OK. I haven't played for a while but I came in and gave everything on the pitch. I'd like to think I showed what I can do," he said.
"I saw the papers yesterday morning and that's what you guys write; if you want to say it was a bad choice to pick me then fine, but I think I showed last night what I can do.
"If the manager chooses me for the play-offs then great, our regular front two are outstanding players but with a performance like that, you have to think you have a chance."