Lincoln boss Michael Appleton was delighted to see Chris Maguire’s hat-trick earn his side their first back-to-back victories of the season.
Having seen off Oxford at the weekend, Lincoln followed up with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Maguire claimed a treble against his former employers, having left the Black Cats after his contract was not renewed in the summer.
And Appleton was delighted with the character displayed by his players as they ended Sunderland’s 10-game unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One.
Appleton said: “There were so many factors that were against us, but we’ve shown a bit of quality at times on a really difficult surface.
“We had a bit of quality at the right time. That’s our first back-to-back wins this season and it’s been too long coming, but for us to do it against (those) two sides, that’s not bad for little old Lincoln.
“We had to deal with a little spell from Sunderland after the penalty, but to come through it with a bit of quality was excellent.
“I watched three games prior to this of teams coming here, and a few teams were blown away by being too passive. I felt the only way we were going to come here and win the game was to be really competitive. From that point of view, we’ve got to be happy with how we competed, then showing a bit of quality at the right time.”
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson decided to move Maguire on last summer, having shuffled the 32-year-old down the pecking order in the second half of last season.
There is clearly no love lost between the duo, with Maguire having sprinted down the touchline after opening the scoring in order to celebrate right in front of Johnson, who stood motionless in Sunderland’s technical area.
Johnson was sent off in the closing stages of the game after intervening in a fracas involving Sunderland’s loanee defender Callum Doyle, and while Maguire’s hat-trick has damaged his side’s promotion hopes, he still feels it was right to move the Scot on last summer.
Johnson said: “It’s not for me to comment (on the way Maguire reacted). You’d have to ask him. When you’re manager you pick a team, you don’t hold grudges, and players sometimes move on, it’s part of the game.
“For me, you pick players – (Elliot) Embleton, (Alex) Pritchard – based on your belief in them. Today, he’s had his day and good luck to him.
“I don’t want to make excuses. We’ve asked a lot of the boys of late but we had prepared well. We just started sloppy, too many players taking too many touches.
“We played into their game plan and that caused poor attitudes and poor body language too early in the game. Rather than change the picture, we were showing our frustration on the ball, when you’ve got to change it, find another passing lane. We played into their hands.”