Middlesbrough send message to Championship rivals


BARRY Robson believes Middlesbrough have made a “statement” to their Championship promotion rivals.

Beaten 3-0 in convincing fashion by table toppers Southampton on Saturday, Robson and co served up the best possible response three days later as he fired two in the 3-1 victory at Doncaster Rovers.

The Scot accepts that the defeat on the South Coast was one of the most frustrating in his time at the club, but having climbed to third following Tuesday’s success at the Keepmoat Stadium, Robson says Boro are back on track.

“We wanted to get it right after Southampton because that hurt us,” he said ahead of Saturday’s visit of Watford.

“It’s hard to forget when you’re beaten 3-0 because we’re better than that.

“It’s very rare that you get a game where everyone in the team isn’t at their best but that happened.

“But we put a statement out there that we’re back with the win at Doncaster.

“I scored two but it probably wasn’t one of my better games if I’m honest.

“But it was important to bounce back after the weekend and we did that and we’re back up to third with a couple of good home games to come.”

Robson’s second against Rovers came from the penalty spot and he admits he wasn’t at all tempted to let former Celtic team-mate Scott McDonald, without a goal in 11 matches, take the honour.

“Scotty will score a goal, don’t worry about that,” he went on.

“The first six or seven games of the season he was terrific.

“He’s not scoring at the moment but I’ve seen him score at the highest level and they’ll come.

“He’s not that type to hand him a penalty, he’ll want to do it on his own and I’m sure he will.”

Robson, meanwhile, was the subject of glowing praise from manager Tony Mowbray in the wake of the midweek win.

“Barry brings power, determination and real quality,” he said.

“He’s his own biggest critic as well.He’ll beat himself up if he has a bad touch or a bad pass, but his recent performances for us have been excellent.

“He always works extra hard on the training ground, and he’s a fantastic professional. He’s great to work with and he’s having a big effect on the team.

“When we have one striker (McDonald) who isn’t really firing goals wise, it’s great to have a midfield player who’s banging them in.

“To be honest, he’s disappointed he didn’t get a hat-trick because he had a bad touch late on that would have taken him clean through on the goal.”