Mark Hughes has revealed that even though two-goal Carlos Tevez took man-of-the-match honours in the 3-1 win over West Ham, it was Martin Petrov's performance that made his night.
The Bulgaria winger, nicknamed "Rigsby" by Blues fans after the classic TV comedy character, rose to the occasion superbly and scored to cap a memorable first appearance of the season.
Petrov, who admitted in the summer that he feared his chances would be limited, has been forced to wait for an opportunity but finally stepped in when Stevie Ireland went down with a bug.
City boss Hughes said: "The great thing about the evening from my point of view is that Martin Petrov came in and made a real impression. That shows what a great professional he is.
"He's had to be patient and bide his time but he trains correctly and works exceptionally hard every day. he knows you have to be in the right physical state to make a positive impact."
Petrov was amazing, Only remember him messing up once near the end. He was pinging class balls left, right and centre!
...Zezou on mancityfans.net...
Petrov's first-half free-kick past England goalkeeper Robert Green was his first competitive City goal since scoring in each leg against EB/Streymour in the UEFA Cup qualifiers of July last year.
Martin gleefully pointed to his shirt name and number as he celebrated near the bench, but Hughes said with a smile: "He does that every time he scores - he does it to the crowd as well!
"He had a really positive influence and that's what we need - guys who, when they get an opportunity, are ready to perform, not sitting in the stands feeling sorry for themselves.
"We need that quality through the squad - when somebody isn't available, we need somebody else to come in and make an impact like that."