To say Preston North End midfielder Paul Gallagher is chuffed to reach a century of goals in his career is very much an understatement.
His ton came up the other week in PNE’s victory at Middlesbrough, a curling free-kick from the edge of the box into the far bottom corner.
That came 15 years after his first goal in Blackburn colours against Birmingham.
In between, Gallagher has also found the net for Stoke, Plymouth, Sheffield United and Leicester.
Every goal is special to the 34-year-old although some have more significance than others.
Gallagher told the Post: “If someone had said to me at the start of my career that I would go on to score 100 goals in senior football, I would have laughed.
“While I started off as a striker, I only really played there for two or three years and since then I’ve moved all around the pitch.
“I have played wide, as an attacking midfielder, in a deep midfield role, wherever I’m asked to play I’ll knuckle down and do it.
“It was nice to score the 100th goal in the manner I did, set-pieces are a massive thing in football.
“We weren’t playing well at Middlesbrough as a team, I wasn’t playing well but the manager had kept me on the pitch whereas others might have taken me off.”
Gallagher’s first goal in a Preston shirt came back in August 2007 in his first loan spell at Deepdale.
“That first came against Sheffield Wednesday, it was my home debut and I got in at the back stick to score,” said Gallagher.
“I’ve always said that I didn’t do myself justice in that loan spell and I was keen to come back a few years later to prove myself.
“In my time at Preston I’ve got some good goals to look back on.
“A really big goal came in the FA Cup replay at Sheffield United in February 2015.
“We were 1-0 down and I put a free-kick into the top corner. We went on to win 3-1 and played Manchester United in the next round.
“Scoring that goal was a special moment and I had to get to the ball before young Josh Brownhill did.
“Josh had scored there in a league game a few weeks before and fancied taking it.
“I’ve got two hat-tricks for Preston against Barnet and Shrewsbury.
“ A big moment for me was scoring our first goal back in the Championship against MK Dons.
“This season I’ve scored a few free-kicks – one at Aston Villa in the 3-3 draw and then with my first touch against Ipswich when I ended-up playing in goal.”
Gallagher’s first goal in senior football was back in December 2003, that in a 4-0 win for Blackburn against Birmingham at St Andrew’s.
He said: “I got the fourth goal and I think that was my first start in an away game.
“At Leicester I scored a few, I reversed one free-kick into the top corner against Nottingham Forest who were a big rival.
“In Nigel Pearson’s first game back in his second spell, I scored twice in three minutes – Jermaine Beckford got the other.”