As Bradley Dack curled in Rovers’ second in injury time, it added a sweet finish on the opening fixture of the year.
It wasn’t a performance like our last trip to St Andrew’s, where Rovers scored four without reply against Coventry City, but sometimes those victories are the better ones.
The opening ten minutes were cagey from both sides, trying to avoid an early capitulation after disappointing form in recent weeks, and it was evident from viewing.
But, after Birmingham City were denied a penalty by Gavin Ward – let’s not get into his performance for both sides – Harvey Elliott’s perfect pass was latched onto by Adam Armstrong, who did what he does best.
Rovers continued to push for a second in an attempt to kill the matches off like the beginning of the season, but as each chance went by without going in, you could be forgiven for getting the sinking feeling that Birmingham would punish us sooner rather than later.
Ivan Sunjic went close, as did Ivan Sanchez from a free-kick, but Rovers rode the wave well and eventually, that paid off as Bradley Dack got his first goal since November 2019.
When you consider all the work that has got into getting Bradley back into the first team and his journey back, it really was a feel good moment for all imvolved with the club, and most importantly, Dack himself.
The goal will only add to his confidence, and as he nears his first start since that sad evening at Ewood Park, it’s of paramount importance that he’s ready to go.
A result takes Rovers up to 11th, five points off the play-offs. Whether we make the top six or not is another story, but if we’re in and around the top six and we keep ourselves in contention, I don’t feel there’s too much more we could have asked for.
We’ve got a good squad, but it’s not one we should be disappointed with if we don’t end up in the top six, and we most definitely shouldn’t want a change in the manager’s hotseat down to this.
If we take the season game by game, keep putting points on the board and see where we end up, it’ll help us manage expectations and stay realistic.
Thanks for reading, and all the best for the New Year.