As footballing moments go, scoring a goal against your former club in front of a packed away end who are chanting your name is as Roy of the Rovers as it gets.
Ricardo Santos certainly won’t forget Saturday’s 5-0 win at Peterborough United in a hurry. He had waited more than 100 games to open his account for Wanderers, so to do it at London Road was doubly special.
Add to that the fact just three months ago he was lying in hospital on a ventilator after contracting a nasty respiratory virus, and you have the perfect afternoon.
“It was just unbelievable, everyone shouting my name,” he told The Bolton News.
“The support here is amazing. They come out in numbers all the time and they give the boys so much courage to keep going.
“It was so important for me to get that goal in front of them.
“Coming from the illness, I didn’t know when I was going to get back on my feet again. But I am back now, I have my sharpness and my strength back. I want to push on.
“I just had that feeling in the hotel getting ready. I knew I’d get a chance.
“And I’ve put two away – or at least that is what I’ll say – I’m buzzing about it.”
Santos had done some midweek interviews with the local press, talking about the regrets he had on his Peterborough exit several years ago, and even the fact he once appeared in a music video.
That bit of exposure looks to have sewn a seed with some supporters, who were compelled to back him to score on Saturday.
Social media was filled with winning betting slips – and even minutes after the game, Santos knew he had helped some folk have an even more enjoyable night.
“I got a few tweets on Twitter – the odds were high,” he grinned.
“Hopefully they enjoy that, and I can get a few more in the future now.”
Santos may well score more spectacular goals but along with Dion Charles’ hat-trick, his double helped Bolton to a result in their 5,000th league game which will surely be talked about for years.
Asked to talk us through his technique, the defender was only too happy to oblige.
“The first one was a bit crazy, I don’t know how Geth missed that – but the luck was with me today and I was happy even to get one, get off the mark, is has been a long time coming, man,” he explained.
“When the ball came in I’d stretched for it and it kind of went under me, somehow. But as the ball came out and I was trying to get back up, it hit my calf somehow, and I ran away like I’d scored a crazy goal. I didn’t know much about it – I just thought Geth was going to score.
“Even the second was a bit lucky, Cameron Jerome ran to the near post, got a deflection and it fell to me. You take those any day.
“I’m chuffed about the result, chuffed about 5,000 games, it means a lot to us.
“I have felt like we have played a lot of games where we dominated teams but didn’t get the goals we deserved. I think today, everything that fell to us, we put away. This was important to get the win and push on.
“I knew people were going to boo me today but I’d come to win. I am a Bolton player, captain, and I love playing for this team.”
Santos also helped to keep another clean sheet – Bolton’s seventh in nine league games – and stifle the effect Peterborough’s free-scoring striker Jonson Clarke-Harris had on the game.
“I know every time you come up against him it is going to be a battle because he’s a big boy,” he said. “But two games now and he hasn’t scored. I don’t want to say too much but I love that type of battle – 5-0, I’ll take that, and move on to another big game Tuesday.”
Wanderers host MK Dons on Tuesday night, which will give many supporters the first chance to see Manchester City loanee Luke Mbete in the flesh.
His debut at Posh could not have been better scripted, says Santos.
“Luke is an unbelievable talent, the younger players are just getting bigger and bigger,” he said.
“He is class to play with, his listens, he is so confident on the ball and he’s a big boy as well. He has got a big future.”