UNLIKELY match-winner Jason Lowe paid tribute to Blackburn Rovers coach Tony Grant after his first goal for the club earned a vital 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough.

The 22-year-old settled Saturday’s hard fought Ewood Park encounter with a memorable long-range strike and then immediately thanked Grant for the role he played in breaking his duck.

The former Everton and Manchester City midfielder has been working closely with Lowe in a bid to help the England U21 international add an attacking threat to his game.

And Grant’s hard work paid off when Lowe – on what was his 96th appearance for Rovers – picked up the ball 25 yards out and blasted an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

“I’ll remember that for a very long time – my first one for the club,” said Lowe.

“I would have taken one off the back of my head, my heal, anything! But to see it fly in like that was a great feeling.

“I’ve been knocking on the door a little bit in recent games so I’m just over the moon it has finally come.

“I’ve been working very hard with Tony Grant on the training field.

“He helps me out a lot to be honest with you and he deserves a lot of credit.

“It’s about making decisions in and around the box and making sure you hit it cleanly. If you hit the target you’ve got half a chance and it flew in.”

The win was Rovers’ first in four matches and moved them up to ninth and within four points of the play-off places.

Lowe said: “The main thing was getting the three points, the icing on the cake for me was getting off the mark and getting the winning goal.

“We’re four points off the top six now so to get the win was a big confidence booster.

“I thought Middlesbrough were a good team that were set-up well, well organised and stopped us playing at times.

“But in the second half I thought we mixed it up a little bit, earned the right to play in their half, and overall I thought we edged it.

“So I’m over the moon for the lads.”

Having notched his first goal for the club Lowe has made it his aim to keep hitting the back of the net.

But he was denied a chance to add to his tally on Saturday as not long after he scored, the midfielder dropped back into the centre of defence after Matt Kilgallon went off injured.

“It’s no problem at all,” said Rovers academy graduate Lowe, who last week signed a contract extension.

“I played there at Wigan (after Grant Hanley was sent off) and if the team need me to play centre-half I’ll play centre-half.”

Centre-back Kilgallon is expected to be fit for Saturday’s trip to Brighton.

But Rovers boss Gary Bowyer said after the Middlesbrough game that left-back Tommy Spurr could be out for two weeks after he limped off early on with a foot injury.