ANOTHER stunning strike from Kal Naismith, another tantalising reminder of the winger’s talents.
For Paul Cook, the challenge remains to drag more magic moments out of the Scotsman.
Naismith marked his first start in six matches by crashing home a 35-yard winner two minutes from time.
It saw off Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy in a 1-0 success which keeps alive the Blues’ hopes of progression from the group stage.
As for the ex-Rangers man, it once again demonstrated the ability which persuaded Cook to bring him to Fratton Park – and earlier this season remove him from the transfer list.
Pompey’s boss said: ‘It’s Kal isn’t it. He scores those in training all the time.
‘There is a reason why we brought Kal to the club, you see so much quality in the lad, some of his deliveries from set-plays, his left-foot ability.
‘But he has to bring it more onto the pitch.
‘At this club, what we all do is watch the first team and want people to grasp opportunities.
‘Pompey fans over the years have always had heroes and over the last four seasons I would say it has been painful. We are waiting for people to lift us, waiting for managers to do it, waiting for players to do it – and players have got to want that.
‘No-one can go into their shell here.
‘He can score goals like that, it’s footballers at this level sometimes, it is integrating them into a team and a work ethic, it is what you have to do.
‘Eventually we want to say “That’s us”. You can name quite a few occasions when that has happened, but it hasn’t been consistent enough and that is the reality of where we are at.’
Victory over the League One side ended a run of three successive Fratton Park defeats.
Yet the Blues must await on the outcome of tonight’s clash between Yeovil and Reading under-23s before discovering whether they reach the knock-out stages.
In addition, they head into Saturday’s visit of Mansfield with added confidence.
Cook added: ‘This is a great club, I don’t get put under any pressure other than the pressure I put myself under and – these players included – we all have to embrace that.
‘We are now out of the FA Cup and await our fate for this competition. We have to embrace this league now, we have so much about us, so many good players, we have got to march on.’
– NEIL ALLEN