Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill paid tribute to Fraizer Campbell after the striker stepped off the bench to score the equaliser in the 1-1 FA Cup fourth round draw with Middlesbrough.
Campbell has been out of action for 18 months after suffering two serious knee injuries and was making his first appearance since August 2010 when he was sent on at the interval.
The former Manchester United frontman provided the finishing touch to James McClean's 59th-minute pass to claim his first goal since April 2010, cancelling out Barry Robson's excellent opener for Boro.
O'Neill said: "I am really, really delighted for him, and I think everybody is around here - it's hard not to be with the injuries he has sustained.
"He took it brilliantly as well - it may well have been his first or second touch."
Sunderland thought they had levelled six minutes before the break when Craig Gardner fired home off the inside off the post, only for an offside flag to ruin his celebrations.
O'Neill said: "I have been told it was given for offside, and it wasn't offside.
"The referee is adamant that's what the linesman gave it for. There is supposedly a suggestion of handball beforehand, which I don't think he saw.
"I said to the referee at half-time, 'Was it handball or offside?', and he said, 'I never mentioned handball', so if it was given for offside, it should have stood."