By Graham Hill
ASTON Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane says Jack Grealish ‘had the last laugh’ at Birmingham on Sunday.
Grealish was assaulted by a pitch invader in the early stages of the derby clash at Blues.
The Villa skipper then scored the winning goal in the second half to seal three points.
Paul Mitchell, 27, of Rubery was arrested and charged after entering the field of play in the early stages of the game at St Andrew’s and hitting Grealish around the back of the head and neck.
Mitchell appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court Monday morning.
He pleaded guilty on both counts and the case continues. His solicitor told the court:
“He cannot explain what came over him yesterday morning. His initial foolish intention was to just go onto the pitch and whip up the crowd.”
Hourihane branded the attack as ‘disgusting’ and praised Villa team-mate Grealish for not reacting.
The Irishman told Sky Sports: “Jack showed his class, the banter between the fans, the singing and the antics is okay.
“There was a fantastic buzz out there.
“But to have what happened in the game is absolutely disgusting.
“Jack got the winner and had the last laugh though.
“It was a fantastic three points for us.”
Hourihane was also unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself.
And he says the last two results – against Derby and Birmingham – have given Villa a springboard to try and gatecrash the top six.
Hourihane added: “Maybe I thought my shot could’ve gone in but it hit the bar.
“It was very windy and perhaps that’s why it didn’t go in.
“But the main thing was the three points.
“Jack’s given us a massive boost, so why not have a go for the top six.
“He’s put in two top class performances.
“But we have two top games against Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough coming up.
“If we’re still in hunt after the international break we might have a chance.”