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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 February, 2004, 22:55 GMT
Hughes hails Earnshaw
Wales scorers Gareth Taylor and Rob Earnshaw celebrate
Wales manager Mark Hughes was full of praise for Rob Earnshaw after his historic hat-trick in Cardiff.

Earnshaw's treble was Wales' first since Ian Rush hit three against the Faroe Islands in 1992.

"Rob was electric all night and Scotland couldn't cope - he's got frightening pace and defenders don't like that," Hughes said.

"He'll enjoy this evening but he'll acknowledge he had a lot of help from a good team performance."

The Cardiff striker struck after just 43 seconds, pouncing on skipper Gary Speed's lofted pass to fire past Scotland goalkeeper Rab Douglas.

Ryan Giggs' cross allowed Earnshaw to bundle in his second after 35 minutes, then claimed his hat-trick midway through the second half.

"It is just so special and there are no words for it, it is a great day for me and the team," Earnshaw said.

"The opener was all a bit of a blur - one minute we were kicking off and the next I had scored and it was nice to get off to a good start.

"This was the backlash from the Russia defeat. Everybody wanted to get it out of the way and just to get out there and everyone played really well."

I emphasised that we needed to win the game and I'm pleased we've done that
Wales boss Mark Hughes

Nottingham Forest striker Gareth Taylor, who replaced Giggs after half-time, rounded things off 12 minutes before the end - claiming his first Wales goal after 13 caps.

"It was a great performance all round from start to finish. I told them in the dressing room they should be very proud of themselves," Hughes said.

"It was a difficult build-up, we lost a lot of senior players, but the lads who came in have acquitted themselves well.

"It was an opportunity to have a look at a few things and try some things out, but I emphasised that we needed to win the game and I'm pleased that we've done that."

Giggs was able to sit back and enjoy the second half from the bench and echoed his manager about the importance of getting a win.

"It was important to get the right result and performance and we couldn't have wished for more," Giggs said.

"Some of the goals were brilliant and there was some good passing from the back to set it off - all the players can be proud of themselves.

"We have got to be professional, remember all the good things from the last campaign and try and learn from the bad things and move on from there."

Tottenham's Simon Davies limped off for Wales with a leg injury, but fears of a broken bone were allayed after an x-ray revealed only heavy bruising.

Spurs say he could be fit enough to play in Sunday's game with Leicester.







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