As a top striker, Brighton and Hove Albion’s Craig Mackail-Smith is used to delivering the goods on the football pitch.
But the Seagulls’ star was stunned when he had to deliver his baby after his girlfriend Amber Fry went into labour.
Miss Fry – daughter of former Peterborough United manager Barry – gave birth to their baby girl at the couple’s home in Warninglid, near Horsham.
Craig, known as CMS to the Albion faithful, said it was the “best thing he had ever done” after he and Barry were on hand to help deliver the girl.
The 29-year-old even joked Barry could have been a goalkeeper the way he caught the baby, saying he had “never seen him move so fast”.
The drama happened as CMS returned home from training to find Barry and Amber watching the England v Scotland match on Wednesday.
The striker could have been playing in the game were it not for an Achilles injury.
But he was left thanking his luck he was not after witnessing the birth first-hand.
Amber started to have contractions – CMS would not reveal if they were brought on by Scotland’s dramatic defeat – so they went upstairs to run her a bath while calling the hospital.
Nurses told them to wait until they had reached one minute gaps before heading to the maternity ward.
The footballer said: “At first they did not seem to be getting any shorter and we thought we were going to be in for a long night.
“Then suddenly it went from relative calm to [Amber] screaming her head off and the head started to appear.”
They were advised to try to get Amber out of the bath and off to hospital but it soon became clear that was not an option.
The footballer said: “We could barely hear the instructions because of the noise. So we did the best we could.
“We lifted her up and she pushed again and Barry was there to catch the baby as it
came out – I’ve never seen him move so fast.
“When the baby came we were all in shock and could not believe what had happened.
“It was the best and worst emotions I have been through, all in one night.
“During [the labour] it was very difficult. Amber was in a lot of pain and we had no painkillers but when the baby was born it was amazing – it was the best thing I have ever been involved in.”
He also praised Barry and his wife Kirstine for being there and helping Amber through the labour.
The couple have named the baby, who weighed six pounds and 12 ounces, Isla.
Both mother and daughter are doing fine.