Jermaine Beckford says his hat-trick in Preston's League One play-off final win over Swindon vindicated his decision to not retire this season.
The 31-year-old considered quitting the game two months ago when the pain of an ear infection kept him out for a month.
"It makes it worth it after everything I've been through," he told BBC Radio Lancashire after the 4-0 win.
"To win promotion and get a hat-trick at Wembley, that hasn't quite sunk in. I'll be a bit teary eyed on the bus."
Beckford opened the scoring after just three minutes against Swindon, and completed his hat-trick before the hour mark, with Paul Huntingdon also on target for North End.
|Jermaine Beckford is only the third player ever to score a hat-trick in a play-off final at Wembley after Scott Sinclair (Swansea, 2011) and Clive Mendonca (Charlton, 1998).|
Former Everton striker Beckford arrived at Deepdale in November on loan from Bolton, where he had scored just twice for the Wanderers in 16 outings,
He was playing non-league football until the age of 22, when he moved to Leeds.
The Jamaica international won promotion while on loan at Scunthorpe in 2007, and reached the second tier with Leeds in 2010 before spells at Everton, Leicester and Huddersfield.
After being unsuccessful in all nine of their previous play-off campaigns, the Lilywhites were finally promoted on their 10th attempt after missing out on going up automatically on the final day of the season.
"It's a never say die attitude we've got in there," he continued.
"You go into each game filled with so much confidence and for me that's priceless."
When asked if he will be wearing a Preston shirt next season, he replied: "I tell you what I am going to do, I'm going to go and celebrate with my team-mates as I haven't had the chance yet."