JASON Shackell declared promotion to the Premier League a fitting reward or Burnley’s “incredible season”.
And the Clarets captain said he was proud to have been there every step of the way.
The centre half has been an ever-present in 2013-14, playing every minute of every league and cup game.
And allied to goals for Ashley Barnes and Michael Kightly, an 18th Championship clean sheet led Burnley over the line.
“It’s unreal, it’s been an incredible season and to finish it off is unbelievable.
“The lads are buzzing. It’s a great feeling and now we can really enjoy all the hard work we put in over the last few months,” said the centre half, for whom this is his third promotion to the Premier League, after previously going up with Norwich and Wolves.
“From day one we knew we were a good team and a good squad and then the results started coming and that just breeds confidence.
“We grew and grew and now we can reap the rewards.”
Shackell admits that, despite being in the top three since September, it will take a while for their feat to sink in.
But he says it is no more than they deserve for all the effort they put in on a daily basis behind the scenes.
“The gaffer gets us working day in day out and the lads have really bought into what he wanted and what he believes and we’ve been a real tight knit group from the start,” said the skipper.
“We’ve kicked on and got some really good results and kept it going all the way through.
“We lost a few players in the summer but brought in some really good players, and the lads who were already here stepped it up again.
“Everybody’s played their part and it’s been phenomenal.”
But Shackell is adamant that the hard work will not stop here.
“We’ll grow together again,” said the former Derby County defender.
“Next season we’ll have to push on again, it will be a tough challenge but one we're looking forward to.”
But for now Shackell intends to revel the celebrations, and soak up the achievement.
“I think it’s going to take a bit of time to take it all in and enjoy it,” he said.
“I’m sure it will come to a time in the next few weeks or month or so when we’ll get our head down and get back to working and focusing on next year.
“But for now we’ll enjoy this.”