The 23-year-old Englishman initially struggled to adjust to life in the Premier League after Collins plucked him on a pre-contract free transfer from non-league York City.
But five goals in his last three appearances is proof the quick striker has now firmly settled in after his treble eased the pain of the midweek CIS Insurance Cup exit to Motherwell.
Collins said: "Clayton is getting better and better as the weeks go by. He's slowly but surely got used to the pace of training and the demands we put on him.
"He's showing his real strength is his pace and is going to score lots of goals I think.
"He showed a lot of guts to take the third penalty, he wants to score goals and I was delighted to see it go in.
"His hat-trick was thoroughly deserved but his overall performance, taking away the goals, was terrific."