Chris Hughton was delighted to hand Sol Campbell his Premier League debut for Newcastle at Manchester City.
The 36-year-old signed a one-year deal with the St James' Park outfit this summer after failing to agree a contract extension at Arsenal.
For a player who began last season in League Two with Notts County, merely getting picked up by Hughton justified his decision to continue a professional career he began at Tottenham 18 years ago.
But when Fabricio Coloccini injured his groin during the first half of the 2-1 defeat at Eastlands, Campbell was the man Hughton turned to.
And the former England star responded with a sure-footed display that looked certain to bring the Magpies a point until Adam Johnson rifled home the winner 15 minutes from time.
"Sol has been edging closer and closer with his fitness," said Hughton. "What he needs is match time. But the pleasing thing for me is that I`m able to bring someone of that quality on when we lost Fabricio because he has been one of our outstanding players this season."