Hayden Mullins has heaped praise on Ryan Cassidy after the 16-year-old marked his Under-23 debut with a hat-trick in a “crazy” 5-5 draw against Bristol City.

The Hornets were left reeling after going 4-0 down in the space of 23 first half minutes, but, inspired by Cassidy’s nine minute treble, battled back to level soon after the half-time break.

Cassidy has impressed at various junior levels for Watford and took to his new surroundings with alarming ease, much to the delight of Mullins.

“He was a credit to himself,” Mullins told the Watford website. “I thought he was excellent. Absolutely fantastic.

“He showed all the qualities of a really good striker. He occupied the middle of the box really well and he didn’t stop running.

“He didn’t give up and I loved his desire, his will to keep going and his enthusiasm. I thought he was brilliant and hopefully there are many more goals to come.”

The manner in which Watford shipped a quartet of early goals frustrated Mullins, despite the battling spirit they showed to come back.

He still took the time to praise the young Hornets refusal to take defeat lying down in what was a hugely eventful game.

“At 4-0 down you are thinking it is game over and if it finishes 4-1 or 5-1 then no one would have batted an eyelid,” he said.

“There is a slight disappointment we didn’t go on and win it. We hit the post twice as well. It was a crazy game.

“I was fuming about the goals we conceded.

“It wasn’t a game where you got it out the back and played through midfield and created chances. It was a game where you got it into the strikers pretty quick, played in there half and got crosses in.”