JERMAINE Easter admits he jumped at the chance to join Millwall on loan from Crystal Palace – and was delighted to cap his second debut for the club with a goal.
Easter, who had a brief spell in SE16 during the 2008-09 campaign, scored the Lions' opening goal in their 2-0 win over South London rivals Charlton on Saturday.
The Wales international poked home Richard Chaplow's cross just 68 seconds after coming on as a substitute before Shane Lowry added a second with an incredible 35-yard free-kick.
"It was my first touch," he said. "It was looking like a stalemate because neither side created many clear-cut opportunities. It was pleasing to score because I felt the game opened up after that.
"It was a fantastic strike from Lowry – it was sort of Gareth Bale-esque, it was brilliant. When we got the second goal, it became a lot more comfortable. We were more confident and passed it around."
Ironically, Easter also found the net on his first appearance for Millwall in a 2-1 win over Swindon in September 2008 – but was then sent-off for elbowing Jack Smith, now a teammate at The Den.
The 31-year-old, then with Plymouth Argyle, was forced to serve a suspension and his one-month loan was effectively over before it had even begun.
But despite the bizarre events of five years ago, Easter insists he did not have to think long about a return to Millwall and the chance to link up with manager Kenny Jackett again.
"I am my own worst critic and I think that killed my loan spell," he said. "I missed three games, Neil Harris came in and started scoring and the manager didn't want to change the team after that.
"That sending-off killed my loan spell, which was disappointing. I elbowed Jack – although I think he made a meal out of it! I've mentioned it to him already and he just laughed at me.
"But that was a long time ago – the best part of five years. Millwall is still a great club, the the fans are really passionate and they turn out in their thousands.
"I spoke to Kenny last Tuesday and as soon as I got the call, it was a no-brainer for me to come and play for him again. I've played for Kenny before so I know how he works.
"Geographically it was perfect because I did not have to move. Kenny is a top manager and is really professional in his approach, so that's not changed since 2008."
Easter has found himself out of favour at Selhurst Park under new manager Ian Holloway – but says there are no hard feelings between himself and the Eagles boss.
"I am just here to play football," he added. "It has been a frustrating season for me and I think the Charlton game was only my 12th appearance this season – seven of them have been off the bench.
"Kenny played me on the left of a front three, which is what Holloway was doing. He is very good on rotation and getting in between the lines, so I picked up a few things from him actually.
"I brought that into the game on Saturday which is why I probably got the opportunity I did. Rather than just staying on the left, I came on the inside and was able to get on the end of something."