Roy Hodgson hit the World Cup jackpot after taking a punt on the kid who breached the FA's betting regulations.
Andros Townsend was fined Â£18,000 and banned for four months in the summer. But that misdemeanour was forgotten on Friday night though as the Tottenham winger took Montenegro apart and then scored the goal that helped England to a 4-1 victory that leaves them just one more win away from booking their place in Brazil.
Handed his debut on the most tense of occasions, Townsend played with a freedom no one else could match.
His run set up Wayne Rooney for England's opener just after the break and then, after Dejan Damjanovic had cancelled out a bizarre Branko Boskovic own goal, Townsend scored a stunning third, driving straight at the Montenegro defence before producing a brilliant finish from the edge of the area.
It was a priceless contribution for, with Ukraine beating Poland and only having San Marino to play, England had to win to remain in control of their own destiny.
Daniel Sturridge's injury-time penalty rounded off a handsome victory.
But they will take on Poland in their final match at Wembley on Tuesday without full-back Kyle Walker, suspended after being harshly booked for tugging back Stevan Jovetic in the second half.
Some of the doom mongers looked skywards upon their arrival, watched the rain fall and recalled Steve McClaren's 'Wally with the Brolly' night of distress against Croatia in 2007.
Others with longer memories talked about Jan Tomaszewski, the Polish goalkeeper dubbed a clown by Brian Clough, who prevented England from reaching the 1974 World Cup.
Those negatives were at odds with Hodgson's pre-match demeanour.