Ronan Curtis made a bright full Republic of Ireland debut in their 3-1 friendly victory over Bulgaria.
The Pompey winger, earning his third cap and first since last November, played a substantial part in Mick McCarthy’s side’s opening goal in Dublin.
Curtis’ shot in the 56th minute could only be parried by visiting keeper Hristo Ivanov, with Alan Browne snaffling home the rebound.
In a largely quiet first period, the 23-year-old did well to cut inside four minutes before the interval but slashed his long-range shot well wide.
On the stroke of half-time, Curtis’ clever cross-cum-shot almost picked out Scott Hogan but the Stoke striker couldn’t quite get a touch and Ivanov made a decent stop.
Ireland opened the scoring 11 minutes into the second half – with the Blues wide man engineering the breakthrough.
Curtis’ low effort from the left could only be thwarted back into play by Ivanovhe. The loose ball fell to Hogan whose pass gave Browne an easy tap-in.
Ivelin Popov equalised from the penalty spot for Bulgaria in the 67th minute but the hosts regained the advantage again on 83 minutes.
A corner from the left almost picked out the head of Curtis but Kevin Long was lurking behind and finished.
That goal prompted the ex-Derry man to be substituted for Jeff Hendricks before Luton striker James Collins grabbed a third on his bow.
Meanwhile, Ross McCrorie led from the front to skipper Scotland under-21s deliver a fine comeback in their 2-1 Euros 2021 qualifier win in Croatia.
The on-loan Rangers midfielder’s cross in the 89th minute picked out Connor McLennan, who nodded home the visitors’ winner.
Craig MacGillivray was once again an unused substitute for Scotland in their 4-0 loss to Belgium last night.