PADRAIG Amond has paid tribute to his Newport County teammates for playing their part in the striker’s call-up to Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland squad.

The 21-goal Exiles ace has been selected in the provisional 38-man squad for Euro 2020 qualifying games against Gibraltar and Georgia later this month.

Carlow-born Amond, who won four caps at under-21 level, revealed yesterday he had received messages of congratulations from Irish internationals including Seamus Coleman and Jon Walters.

And if he does make McCarthy’s final squad for the double-header it would see Amond link-up with hero Robbie Keane, Ireland’s record scorer who is now the national team’s assistant manager.

But, for now, 30-year-old Amond is keen to praise those he trains with and plays alongside week in, week out for helping him score the goals which have attracted the attention of McCarthy.

“It’s a collective thing,” he said. “I would never have been called up if it wasn’t for any of those lads (in the County squad).

“With lads setting you up for goals and working as hard as they can on the pitch, it’s down to the performances they have put in which have enabled me to score goals.”

He added: “It’s possibly one of the best weeks of my life.

“I’m genuinely struggling to put into words how I’m feeling – which is a first for me.

“When I got news of the call, it was obviously the proudest moment of my career.

“Ever since I can remember playing football, I’m talking five or six years old, I always dreamed of playing for Ireland.

“And now I’m close to it, I don’t want that dream to go away. I want to put on that green jersey and represent my country because I don’t think there is a bigger honour.

“I thought it had past, but I hadn’t been thinking about it either, I hadn’t been disappointed when squads were named.

“I was just trying to do the best that I could for the club I was with at the time, that’s always been my way of going about things.

“I was trying not to get too excited about it, just in case it didn’t happen, but the FA Cup can change people’s lives.

“There is magic still left in it and it played a big part in me being called up.

“I’ll enjoy this moment but at the same time I won’t get distracted.”

Amond continued: “Before anything happens, there’s three games (for the Exiles) and it could be the biggest week of the season for us.

“When the final whistle goes next Friday night, we’ll have a very good idea whether we’re in the play-off mix or not.”

County, five points off the League Two play-off places in 12th, visit Colchester United on Saturday, before a trip to Northampton Town next Tuesday and home game against Cheltenham Town three days later.

The Exiles have got “a few missing” for this weekend’s clash in Essex according to manager Michael Flynn.