Promotion is my biggest achievement - Rickie Lambert

Rickie Lambert
Lambert is Southampton's top scorer this season with 21 goals

Southampton striker Rickie Lambert says winning automatic promotion to the Championship is the biggest achievement of his career.

Saints are all but promoted having beaten Plymouth to go three points above Huddersfield with one game left and a vastly superior goal difference.

"It means so much and I was a bit emotional at the end," Lambert, 29, told BBC Radio Solent.

"It's the best achievement of my career by far and it's brilliant."

Southampton narrowly missed the play-offs last season having finished one place and seven points outside the top six, but Lambert says he has always believed the club could achieve promotion this year.

"Yes definitely I knew a club like this could do it with the ambition it has," said the ex-Bristol Rovers forward.

"It was disappointing to not get close last season but I was confident we could do it this year and I can't wait now.

"I want to prove myself and I'll be raring to go come next season."

Lambert, who joined Southampton in August 2009, scored his 50th and 51st league goals for the club in Monday's win and praised the Saints' travelling support.

"I can't speak highly enough about our fans, they've been superb all season, especially in the last few weeks," he added.

"The amount of people we've taken to away games it's been like a home game and I can't tell you how much that drives us on, it's absolutely superb to celebrate in front of them."

This will be the third promotion for Saints boss Nigel Adkins, who guided Scunthorpe to the Championship in 2007 and 2009.

The ex-Iron manager replaced Alan Pardew as Saints boss last September with the club 22nd in the league, and he pays tribute to the coaching staff and players for their support since his arrival.

"The players have been top draw, they've worked hard since we've come into the building and (coaches) Andy Crosby and Dean Wilkins have been absolutely fantastic," said the 46-year-old.

"When we came in we were 22nd in this division and there was a massive expectation at this football club and I've loved every minute of it.

"We've achieved what we set out to do which is to get this club to the next level. It's a big vision set by the chairman and it should be an interesting summer."

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