PADRAIG Amond might have been on target for the fifth successive round in this season’s FA Cup against Manchester City – even drawing praise from Pep Guardiola – but the most important thing in his eyes was that the Newport County AFC players put in a display they could be proud of.

Irishman Amond, who had scored in the wins over Met Police, Wrexham, Leicester City and Middlesbrough to help set-up Saturday night’s showdown with the Premier League leaders at Rodney Parade, gave the Exiles late hope when he made it 2-1 in the 88th minute.

However, Guardiola’s men went straight up the other end to score a third, before adding a fourth deep into injury-time to make absolutely sure of their place in the quarter-finals at the expense of Michael Flynn’s League Two side.

Amond, now on 19 goals for the campaign, revealed City boss Guardiola had some kind words for him after the final whistle – and he managed to get hold of opposition skipper David Silva’s shirt too.

And while happy to take praise for his cup scoring exploits, County’s battling performance against one of world football’s powerhouses pleased him more.

“The whole club can be really proud of what we’ve achieved this year in the FA Cup,” he said. “It was fantastic for everyone.

“It was tight against possibly the best side in Europe, we frustrated them for a long time, and even with five minutes left we were still in the game.

“We nicked a goal but unfortunately we made a mistake and they capitalised on it, which good sides can do.

“But one thing we can do is hold our heads high. We had a right go at them. I’m very proud of all the lads.

“On a personal level, it’s a fantastic feeling to have scored, but the most important thing is we can be proud of ourselves.”

He added: “It’s weird, it’s a feeling of disappointment, but we’re very proud of what we’ve done.

“We can build on this going into the league, and for the financial side of things it’s immense.

“It’s unbelievable what we’ve achieved for the club this year.

“The club is secure for the next number of years and it gives you a platform for the future.

“The most important thing is all the kids have this to aspire to.

“For years, people grew up probably wanting to play for Cardiff, Swansea or in Bristol, but now they can be proud to want to play for this club.”

And on City, he said: “They were very respectful of us which was brilliant, they even invited us into the dressing room after the game.

“There were some lovely words from their players and manager. Just after the game, Pep came over and congratulated me.

“He said we could be very proud of ourselves and proud that I scored, and we were a really good bunch of lads.

“If someone like that says you can be proud of yourself it means a lot more.”

He continued: “I believe I can score goals in every game I play, whatever level that is.

“I’m disappointed we lost the game and we’re out of the cup, but in years to come that’s something I’m going to be very proud of, the fact that I’ve scored against probably the best team in Europe.

“It’s a great feeling. I wanted to go and slide on my knees in the corner, but we needed to get going again quickly and get back in the game.”