All five former Celtic players were in the Middlesbrough team tonight as Gordon Strachan celebrated his 53rd birthday with a 2-1 home win over Barnsley.
Scott McDonald made his ‘Boro debut but it was Chris Killen that opened the scoring in the 24th minute.
The win takes Strachan’s side to within two points of Leicester City who are sitting in the fourth play-off position and will be a big relief for Strachan.
Middlesbrough’s form has been less than inspiring since the Celtic boss took over from Gareth Southgate but after a taking full advantage of the January transfer window it is now without doubt his team on the park.
Stephen McManus made his Riverside debut while Barry Robson and Willo Flood have established themselves as regulars in midfield.
McDonald’s goals will be crucial if Middlesbrough are to make it into the play-off’s with Strachan looking forward to working with the striker for the third time.
The Boro boss said: “McDonald is a striker that scores. I’ve realised over the last year that people call themselves strikers without striking. Scott lives up to what he’s called – a striker.
“He scored regularly for Motherwell and he scored in many big games for Celtic. His record says he has earned the right to call himself a striker.
“You can’t build a team around one man, that’s been proved before. Without Adam Johnson, we have to be a more rounded team and it’s the same with Scott.
“We can’t rely only on him. If you do that and the player is unavailable for whatever reason then it’s not worth us turning up. That can’t happen.
“As I keep saying, we have to be a more rounded team. We have to keep working hard and if we get a bit of luck then life will be easier.”
“What the new strikers do is create competition, it tells everyone that to get a game they’ve got to play their best.”
The other group of former Celts at Swindon also had a successful night beating Oldham 4-2 at home to remain in a play-off spot from League One.
On-loan Simon Ferry was joined by Scott Cuthbert and Jon-Paul McGovern as Danny Wilson’s side claimed all three points.