Steve Cotterill paid tribute to Hermann Hreidarsson’s indomitable spirit as he crushed Sheffield United.
The Hermannator’s goal was the difference as Pompey cut down the Blades at Fratton Park on Saturday.
It was a fine moment for the 36-year-old who was fearing for his career 11 months ago when he ruptured his Achilles.
As well as grabbing the only goal of the game, Hreidarsson was a key figure in Pompey equalling their post-war league record of six successive clean sheets.
Cotterill feels his passion has been key in that run as the Blues charge up the Championship table.
He said: ‘Hermann’s a real good lad.
‘The only trouble with Hermann is he’s 36. I would have liked him at 26.
‘He’s come back from a career-threatening injury and shown real character.
‘He’s tough and he’s definitely added something to our back four.
‘He’s worked hard to recover from his injury and he’s a big character.
‘He almost got a cracker when he charged half the length of the pitch, too.
‘How does someone who is 36 beat all the 20 year olds into the box?
‘What a goal that would have been.
‘If we were going to win a game 1-0 you could guarantee Hermann going in where the boots were flying.
‘He’s a brilliant lad and we’re lucky to have him.’
Cotterill also reserved praise for Jamie Ashdown as he kept his latest clean sheet.
The keeper again put in a sturdy display, which has been typical of his form this season.
Cotterill believes he has to be in with a shout when the player-of-the-year trophies are given out.
The Pompey boss is delighted staying at the club has worked out for Ashdown after he succeeded David James as number one.
Cotterill said: ‘Our success has been built on clean sheets. It’s pleasing for Jamie.
‘He had a fairly quiet game, but I’m pleased with him and pleased for him.
‘He’s done well since he got on that plane and went to America really.
‘It’s strange how it all worked but I’m pleased it did work out.
‘It’s worked out well for all of us.
‘We had that time to work out whether we could work with each other.
‘All in all it’s been a happy marriage.
‘He’s an unassuming character but we have given him credit, too.
‘There are three or four players who could be player of the year – and he’s in that bracket.’
Cotterill admitted he felt some of his players looked jaded after going through a frenetic period of games.
Pompey had to work hard for their success and withstand Sheffield United pressure in the second half.
Cotterill felt it would have been a different game, though, if Pompey had converted one of the host of early chances which came their way.
He said: ‘We had a game in midweek and that maybe took a bit more out of us.
‘There was a bit more of a spring in their step.
‘Having said that, we could have been three up in five minutes.
‘It would have been a different game then.’