City boss Glenn Roeder was happy to hail keeper David Marshall as 'Scotland's, Scotland's No1, No1..' as the Canaries celebrated a remarkable 2-1 away win at Nottingham Forest.
For once the presence of the Sky TV cameras brought out the very best in the struggling Norfolk side as they shrugged off the dismissal of Gary Doherty for a professional foul on Nathan Tyson, dug in and dug out a second-half winner via a hapless Luke Chambers.
Given the fact that both Southampton and Watford had won earlier in the day, City's second away win of the season had a fine sense of timing. It also, of course, kept Forest pinned to the floor of the table.
Above all, it would have warmed the hearts – and feet – of the 1,600 travelling Canary supporters who then faced an icy return trip to Norfolk; their travelling heroics for once matched by the efforts of the 'Men in Black'.
They even had Matty Pattison's first-ever goal for the club to ponder; that and a clutch of excellent Marshall denials as Forest threatened to make the very most of their one-man advantage.
“We have a keeper who could become Scotland's number one keeper,” Roeder told reporters afterwards, hoping that this weekend's super TV show would bolt another layer of confidence and belief onto his No1 as the one-time Celtic starlet continues to press Sunderland's Craig Gordon for that international gig.
“I want him in the coming months to believe in himself as much as I believe in him and we believe in him,” said Roeder, plumping for an “electric” save from a Matt Thornhill free-kick as the best of the bunch.
Coming moments after Doherty had seen red and before Pattison had smashed home Norwich's opener, it was one of those saves that changes games.
“I am not sure which was his best save but I am told it was the one from the free-kick,” said the Canary boss. “He was electric to get down to that in the corner.”
Marshall would twice also deny one-time City transfer target Joe Garner as Forest – particularly before the interval – piled on the pressure. After the break and to the disgust of boss Colin Calderwood, the home side took their foot right off the gas.
Even Elliot Omosuzi's exit through injury – leaving Sammy Clingan to be John Kennedy's third centre-half partner of the afternoon – failed to snap Norwich's defensive resolve as the Canaries re-discovered all the heart and courage they had been lacking at the Derbys and Burnleys of this world.
“I accused them – not as individuals, as a team – after a couple of average performances of lacking some courage away from home,” Roeder said afterwards. “And they threw it back in my face.”
Which is exactly the kind of response that any manager would be looking for following events at Carrow Road last weekend.
As ever, however, the test will be whether the Canaries can stop blowing quite so hot and quite so cold; that rather than lurching from black to white and back again, they might – just – find some some welcome shade of grey in which points and performances are delivered on a rather more consistent basis.
Yesterday's 'casualty' list won't help with Doherty now facing a one-match ban and Omosuzi a doubt for Tuesday night's home clash with Crystal Palace. With Dejan Stefanovic out for the season, Roeder will have to either ask Clingan to carry on – or else ask Adam Drury to step back into the stand-in role he performed in the home clash with Derby.
As ever, there is all manner of make-do and mending going on as the Canaries try to keep their heads above the deepest of the bottom three water.
Victory at home to Palace on Tuesday night would certainly keep a little wind in the sails; the goal should boost Pattison's self-belief; his own individual performance should send Marshall's confidence soaring.
Three points back on their own home turf and with Sheffield Wednesday having just lost 1-0 at home to Coventry maybe – just maybe – that trip to Hillsborough next weekend could yield further fruit.
Certainly such thoughts are a million miles away from the desperately dark mood that would have descended had this weekend's live TV clash followed the expected script once Doherty got his marching orders. What followed instead was a textbook, stout-hearted rearguard action complete with the text-book strike on the counter as Lee Croft broke, crossed and played for that in-off off the hapless Chambers.
For Calderwood it promises to be a very bleak mid-winter given his side's ability to – Norwich-like – look such a gift horse in the mouth. And still get mugged for all three points.
“It was a horrible second-half,” he admitted. “We under-performed. The game was there for the taking – a real missed opportunity to maximise our game and get the three points.
“We didn't play in the second-half and it overshadowed a really good first-half performance. (We showed) poor execution on individual things, and there was no real danger against their back four. We really failed in the second-half. That's cost us and put us in a black mood.”
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