Frederic Kanoute ignored all the furore surrounding his club versus country row with a stunning FA Cup third round hat-trick.
Tottenham caretaker manager David Pleat is furious that Kanoute is planning to play for Mali in the African Nations Cup later this month, thus missing four weeks of the Premiership season as Spurs battle against relegation.
But Pleat put personal feelings aside and proved morning newspaper reports wrong by picking the influential striker for this London derby against first division Crystal Palace.
And Kanoute repaid him with three great goals to put Spurs into the fourth round and, perhaps more importantly, boost their confidence ahead of some vital league matches.
The former West Ham man scored his first on 12 minutes with a clinical right-foot finish past Cederic Berthelin after a powerful run and neat pass from Gus Poyet.
And eight minutes later he had scored his and Tottenham's second with a simple tap-in that owed everything to some impressive work from Stephane Dalmat.
The midfielder jinked past three Palace defenders inside the box with dazzling footwork before delivering a perfect cross to the far post where Kanoute could not miss.
Dalmat continued to torment Gary Borrowdale and Tony Popovic as Palace were sliced apart at will, while failing to make any impact on the Tottenham defence.
Kanoute almost added a third before the break, but Berthelin made a smart save from his volley, while Johnnie Jackson was only inches away from another dangerous Dalmat cross.
The Eagles withdrew ineffective striker Andrew Johnson at half time, but it made little difference and within two minutes of the restart they were 3-0 down as Kanoute completed his hat-trick.
Robbie Keane was this time the provider with a delicate lofted pass which Kanoute controlled brilliantly on his chest before despatching the ball into the roof of the net with a first time volley.
Tottenham then went into cruise control, but two unnecessary red cards marred the game in the closing stages.
First Poyet was dismissed after tangling with Dougie Freedman, before Palace defender Danny Butterfield followed him down the tunnel following a 20-man brawl sparked by Jamie Smith's crunching tackle on Bobby Zamora.