It was a night to remember for midfielder Graeme Shinnie on Wednesday as he scored the winner for Derby County in second half stoppage time to beat Wigan Athletic 1-0 at Pride Park Stadium to move within four points of the play-off places.
Shinnie’s half-volleyed effort from the edge of the box ensured the Rams picked up a crucial three points at Pride Park, their third successive win on home soil.
And what a time for the Scottish midfielder to score his first goal for Derby, in what was only his third league appearance of the season.
It wasn’t an easy night for the Rams, however, as they were left frustrated for much of the game by a stubborn Wigan side who threatened on occasions.
They had to rely on the defensive prowess of skipper Curtis Davies and goalkeeper Kelle Roos to keep them in the game, and the Rams’ chance came in additional time in the second half.
“It was good, especially on my right foot, so I’m delighted with it,” he told RamsTV. “It was a tough night; it wasn’t a great game and we didn’t play anywhere near where we want to be but it’s important that when we aren’t playing well that we stick together and win the game.
“I love scoring goals. I love helping the team and at that stage of the game, it’s even more special. I’m delighted to get my first goal for the club and hopefully there is many more to come.
“I’m a passionate player, I like to wear my heart on my sleeve so to get a goal in the last minute is extra special. It’s important we build on that now going into the game on Saturday.”
Four points now separate the Rams from the play-off positions at the quarter stage mark of the season.
The Rams have now only lost one of their last seven games so it’s a good base to work from moving forward, Shinnie admitted.
“It’s important to win your home games, especially in this division,” he said. “To win three in a row is good and we need to build on that. We need to make this place a fortress.
“We want the performance to be a lot better but to win games is really important for us now and the feeling after tonight is really good but we need to build on it.”
Shinnie doesn’t have many goals to his name in his career but where does that one rank in his list of all-time goals?
“Very high,” he admitted. “I’ve not scored many in my career but in terms of finishes, it was right up there.
“I scored one for Aberdeen in the Europa League late on which is probably top of the tree but that definitely ranks up there.”