The remarkable rejuvenation of Ronan Curtis - how Portsmouth's promotion now relies on him
Call it a lover’s tiff, a heat of the moment spat.
Well, Ronan Curtis and the Fratton faithful have certainly kissed and made up following that emotional exchange of views during Bolton’s September visit.
Kenny Jackett’s men won that encounter 1-0, yet it was the Irishman who largely occupied post-match focus.
Curtis’ substitution on 62 minutes had been greeted with sarcastic cheers from some, an expression of relief from others, such was his below-par showing.
Undeniably it represented the lowest point for a player scratching around for form, yet succeeding only in boiling over with frustration.
The outburst was soon deleted, nonetheless had already been seen – and screen grabbed.
In the aftermath, he was sidelined by injury, pulled out of Republic of Ireland duty and then condemned to Pompey bench service for three fixtures.
The 23-year-old returned from his enforced sabbatical rejuvenated.
Curtis has been a revelation since netting on his comeback at Bristol Rovers at October’s end, established as a central figure in Pompey’s resurgence following early-season underachievement.
Today he’s the Blues’ 13-goal leading scorer, while in Saturday’s impressive 2-0 win against Sunderland claimed two assists from dead-ball situations.
As it stands, the energetic winger and Christian Burgess are battling it out to become The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season.
Curtis’ revitalisation has truly been remarkable, yet surely not unexpected.
The talent was always there, his ability obvious since bursting onto the League One scene last season and netting 12 times in 49 appearances.
Admittedly there was a dip, exhaustion applying the handbrake to 2019 performances having arrived straight after serving in the Irish league.
Curtis’ sluggish start to this campaign did little to reassure that a summer recharge had been successful – then arrived Bolton.
Now, with 11 goals in his last 19 appearances, the transformed Irishman represents the catalyst to Pompey’s Championship aspirations.