QPR manager Mark Warburton saluted the finishing skills of Andre Gray after the striker hit a dramatic late goal to seal a 2-1 victory at Derby.
The on-loan Watford forward volleyed in after coming off the bench to lift Rangers to third in the Sky Bet Championship and leave Derby 19 points from safety.
Derby had started well and went ahead in the 10th minute when Graeme Shinnie sent Tom Lawrence through to fire into the top corner for the 50th goal of his career.
Rangers dominated possession but created little until the 36th minute when Ilias Chair’s free-kick found Charlie Austin, who headed over.
But Austin provided the assist in the 50th minute that drew Rangers level when his cross from the right was volleyed in by Chris Willock.
Rangers wasted a glorious chance in the 72nd minute when Chair headed over from six yards, but he made amends in the last minute when he headed against the bar and Gray volleyed beyond Kelle Roos.
Warburton said: “I know Andre so well, we signed him a long time ago at Brentford, I know him inside out and he was phoning me at home to say I’m ready.
“The medical team have got to look after the players, don’t forget he’s a loan player so we have a responsibility to him and to his parent club but the dialogue was good, he was ready for 15-20 minutes and trained well yesterday.
“You saw a performance tonight, it was a fantastic finish by him and he’s got that in his locker. He’ll frustrate you sometimes, he won’t mind me saying he’ll hit Row X sometimes but then he’ll turn round and hit that quality.
“I thought first half we were tentative and lacked intensity and purpose to our play but all we had to do was raise that intensity and move the ball quicker and we looked a good team in the second half and deserved to win the game.”
Derby manager Wayne Rooney said: “I think QPR deserved to win. I thought we started really well but then we dropped too deep and we were sloppy with the ball.
“I could see it coming, the warning signs were there. I said to the boys at half-time we need to wake up, we were lucky to be in the lead but it continued in the second half and I felt the result was a fair one
“The two goals we conceded were poor so we’re disappointed and it’s a setback but we know in this division a week can make a big difference so we have to keep fighting and pushing.”.
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