Matty Blair has opened up about his impassioned celebration after scoring a 91st minute equalising goal against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. The Owls were the team his late brother, Ross Blair, supported before his tragic death in 2017.
“It was uncontrollable,” said Blair. “The excitement of scoring, the making up for the own goal and then realising that was against Ross’ team and that he wasn’t there to see it. It was an explosion.”
It was clear to see the emotion on Blair’s face when he knocked in the equaliser, as he rushed into a knee slide before breaking down in tears. Teammate and good friend, Alfie May, was on the scene to congratulate him.
“When you’ve got someone like Alfie May on the pitch, who has been with me through it all, he gave me 10,15 seconds during the celebration to let me have my time and gather my thoughts and go again.” he said.
“The lads have been great me and I’ve had so much support from everyone else. It’s incredible, I genuinely can’t thank everybody enough. With the amount of support I’ve had, I’ll be forever grateful.”
Blair’s ties to Wednesday go even deeper, with his father, Andy Blair, making 58 appearances for the club from 1984-86. Despite those links, Matty Blair was keen to focus on the football.
“I didn’t want the game to be about me, or Ross, or Andy Blair. It was very much about Cheltenham vs Sheffield Wednesday but the way the game went, with the goal and the own goal, and the celebrations after I couldn’t really help it!”
“He (dad) was very emotional after the game,” Blair stated. “He usually just gives me the old debrief of the game and then tells me to strengthen my hamstring and quads! But this one was more of a ‘Matty what a special goal and a special day, I couldn’t be more proud.'”
Matty Blair’s afternoon was made perfect after he reunited with his wife and son, who were watching on from the crowds with the Robins loyal.
“Then my four-year-old in the crowd goes ‘daddy, daddy! You scored!’ but then he goes ‘but you scored an own goal as well!’ and for me that was another moment that was perfect.”
The goal itself probably shouldn’t have even been scored, as Blair admitted that he disobeyed manager Michael Duff and threw himself at the ball instead of waiting on the edge of the box.
“I probably shouldn’t have even been there,” laughed Blair. “The gaffer and Watto said to me ‘go and ring the edge of the box’ but at that point it was the 90th minute and I thought ‘I’m not ringing the edge of the box, I’m going in full-hammer attacking this corner!”
Blair and Cheltenham travel to Portsmouth tomorrow evening looking to continue their strong start to the season. Check out Michael Duff’s thoughts ahead of the game here.