SOUTH AFRICA star Tokelo Rantie reckons his role as supersub remains right for both him and Cherries – despite breaking his Dean Court duck.
Cherries’ record signing notched the winner three minutes after entering the action in last night’s 2-1 home win over Huddersfield Town, his first goal on Dorset soil.
Rantie latched onto Eunan O’Kane’s threaded pass and produced a cool low finish across inspired visiting keeper Alex Smithies which kissed the far post on its way in.
It was the 23-year-old’s second strike since his big-money move from Swedish club Malmo in August, more than three months after his eye-catching equaliser at Burnley in November.
Rantie found himself on the bench from the start of December and has not started a league match since but has entered the fray as a substitute in all but two of Cherries’ Championship fixtures during that time.
And although the hard-working hitman finally got a goal under his belt, Rantie backed boss Eddie Howe’s patient approach to his long-term progress.
Rantie said: “To be honest, I think the manager is doing the right thing to put me on as a second-half substitute because that is the only way I will adapt to English football.
“Grabbs (Lewis Grabban) has been outstanding for us and he has been motivating me. The rest of the guys have been doing well so I don’t think it would be any use to change the team right now just because I scored.
"The team is doing well and you can’t change a winning formula.
“I am very grateful that I managed to contribute with the goal and it was something I needed. Hopefully, there will be more goals to come.
“We knew from the beginning we could not play our normal game in the conditions and they were pushing high so the manager told me I needed to make runs in behind.
“It was something that was working for us in the first half so I tried to make it easy for myself by being in the right place at the right time.”
Much to his surprise, Rantie, who ran to embrace supporters in the Steve Fletcher Stand after netting, was booked by referee Graham Horwood for his celebrations.
But despite his yellow card, the Cherries striker was adamant he wanted to repay the support of the Dean Court faithful.
“It was an emotional game for me and I think I deserved the hug from them and they deserved the hug from me,” added Rantie.
“That (the supporters' backing) is something that can motivate you as a player. It shows they appreciate me being here and I am very grateful to score in front of them.
“They have been waiting for it (a goal) for quite some time now and I was very pleased it came at the right time to get three points.”