Video evidence makes for happy viewing for McInnes
DEREK McInnes took advantage of the long coach journey home on Saturday night to show his players a video rerun of their remarkable victory.
As the team boarded and made themselves comfortable for a show that must have made enjoyable viewing, City's manager quipped: "We'll be able to watch it at least three times before we get back to Bristol!"
City's players had every right to revel in their moment of triumph, but the Scot's broad smile could not disguise his real emotion.
Throughout the dark days when City were losing week-in and week-out and plummeting down the table, McInnes constantly cajoled his charges, encouraging them to believe in themselves and not to lose heart.
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Although that became correspondingly more difficult with every defeat in a confidence-sapping seven-match losing run, the manager had no option but to repeat his mantra in the hope that the message would get through.
It seems the penny finally dropped following last week's 1-1 home draw with Blackpool, a result which effectively stopped the rot. Suitably encouraged by an improved showing, City finally demonstrated what they are all about, summoning, arguably their most complete performance of the season, to stun Middlesbrough.
Eager to reinforce his point and further bolster confidence ahead of tomorrow's potentially hazardous undertaking at Brighton, McInnes ordered a video watching session to remind his players of just how good they can be.
Certainly, they have no reason to fear promotion-chasing Brighton following a display and result that makes a mockery of their modest standing in the Championship table.
So just what has changed since the abject surrender to Charlton that left the Robins four points adrift at the bottom just two weeks ago?
New faces have helped and, with the benefit of hindsight, it can be seen that Neil Danns has played a crucial part in lifting spirits among players whose chins were down.
Unaffected by what had gone before, the infectious Scouser has simply led by example, throwing himself into tackles and providing an energy and drive that has carried others with him.
Although injury prevented him playing a part at the Riverside, Matthew Bates has also made a difference since signing a short-term contract, while the decision to recall Joe Bryan to cover for long-term absentee Greg Cunningham at left-back has proved inspired.
In addition, the return to full fitness of experienced campaigners Marvin Elliott and Neil Kilkenny cannot be overlooked in any analysis of City's recent upturn in fortunes. Back to their best, they were outstanding against a Middlesbrough team that never quite came to terms with City's ability to break up play and hurt their opponents with swiftly-launched counter-attacks.
Having experimented with various attack-minded systems in a bid to stop the rot, McInnes has finally returned to a method of playing that suited his players last season.
The deployment of a five-man midfield gave the Robins a crucial edge in this contest and their numerical advantage in the engine room enabled the visitors to derive confidence in possession.
Danns and Elliott won sufficient ball to enable Kilkenny to direct affairs from the centre circle and his ability to pick out team-mates and initiate attacks contributed mightily to City's best attacking display in a long time.
There was much to admire about the three goals they scored, but they could easily have doubled their tally. Ryan Taylor should have been awarded a penalty when impeded by Andre Bikey midway through the first half, while Stephen Pearson passed up a great opportunity and Albert Adomah saw a shot come back off the underside of the cross bar.
This result was no fluke and City were good value for the 13th minute lead given them by Adomah, who profited from Bryan's brilliant run and cross.
Even when Ishmael Miller scored a scrappy equaliser shortly before half-time, City continued to play with determination and no little panache, confirmed in the belief that this was their day.
Danns made the second goal, surging into the penalty area and providing for Pearson to score at the near post and Middlesbrough already had the look of a beaten side when Adomah set-up substitute Steven Davies for the third just moments from the end.
City's defensive display was every bit as encouraging and Louis Carey, deputising for Bates, came through with flying colours. He may be in the Autumn of his career but, in many respects, he remains the best defender on the staff and his strength and ability to read the game certainly rendered the back four more difficult to break down.
A long-awaited clean sheet continues to elude City, but it is coming closer and Middlesbrough could have no complaints about being beaten on home soil for only the second time this season.
Kept at arm's length for the most part, they were eventually reduced to trying their luck with pot-shots from range as the visitors exerted a stranglehold that seldom looked like being broken.