Adam Armstrong’s stunning strike took Cardiff City goalkeeper Alex Smithies by surprise – but there will have been one person in the north east watching on who won’t have been.

Armstrong scored a stunning winner, lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper from all of 45 yards, on Tuesday night, a goal that deserved fans inside the ground to witness it live.

Back in the north east, Armstrong’s dad will have been watching on knowing that years of advice had paid off – with the Rovers attacker admitting he’d long been told about the opportunity of catching a ‘keeper off his line.

Che Adams had done just that for Southampton against Manchester City last weekend, and with goalkeepers keener than ever to get involved in the play, the likelihood seeing such goals is expected to grow.

Video footage unearthed this week showed Armstrong having done just that in training for Newcastle United five years ago, as well as a similar effort against Millwall during his loan spell at Coventry City under Tony Mowbray in 2015/16.

“I’ve always had it in us because since I was little my dad was always drilling it in to me saying ‘keepers are always off the line because they want to play’ and always told me to have a little look up,” Armstrong revealed.

“I did that on Tuesday and luckily it came off.

“I hit it so cleanly. I had seen the ‘keeper off his line and thought ‘why not?’

“I’ve tried it in the past and luckily this one went in and it was pretty sweet.

“It was nice, I hit it so cleanly. You can have them where you mishit them or it goes in the stand, but luckily for me it hit the back of the net.

“I’ve been lucky enough this season to score some nice this season, I think that has to be up there, but the three points were the most important thing.

“We needed that on Tuesday and it’s given us a push for the last few games.”

More than half of Armstrong’s 15 goals have come from outside the box, with Mowbray believing the 23-year-old is having his own goal of the season competition.

Danny Graham scored from millimetres out in the Cardiff win, and despite his crackers from outside the box, Armstrong is wanting to add more scruffy goals to his repertoire in a bid to become even more prolific in front of goal.

“I think I’ve only scored a couple of tap-ins this season but would definitely like to get more,” he added.  “I want to break the box more if I’m playing from a wider position, and that’s something I’m working on. If I can get more goals like that then great.”

Mowbray agrees, and believes close-range finishes are what stand between Armstrong and becoming a regular 25-goal a season man.

“He has scored some amazing goals, there’s a lot from outside the box in the top corner, brilliant strikes, if anything he needs to add more tap-ins to get his numbers up from 15 to 25 or 30,” Mowbray said.  “He’s a young player, still only 23, with amazing attributes, a great desire to learn.

“He scored 20 goals for me at Coventry and I know his character, he wants to be a footballer, wants to score, can score off both feet, long-rangers, and when he develops that instinct to score the tap-ins he’s going to be some footballer.”

Armstrong is out on his own at the top of the Rovers scoring charts with 15, six ahead of his nearest challenger, Bradley Dack, who has been out since December.

Ten of Armstrong’s goals have come since Dack’s injury, with Mowbray believing it would have been a close run thing for top scorer had both been fit.

“I feel like I’ve been playing well, I feel confident, and it’s nice that the goals and the assists have been coming,” said Armstrong, who also has seven assists.

“Bradley has been a big miss, and someone had to step up, but we’ve been playing well this season and are in a good position, and if my goals have helped us get there then great.

“Everyone's been chipping in. It’s been a great season so far.”