JAMIE Mackie is hoping for plenty of opportunities to give his son the thumbs up between now and the end of the season.
The 31 year-old forward has scored three times so far this season – netting against Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich and Middlesbrough – and his celebration has consisted of a lofted thumbs-up.
As Mackie prepares for this weekend’s fixture against Burton Albion at Loftus Road, he has explained the story behind the celebration.
“When I drop my boy to school in the morning he always gives me a thumbs up and says, ‘See ya later Dad,’ Mackie says, “so it’s a little one for me and my boy.”
The 400-plus R’s fans saw him repeat the routine at the Riverside on Saturday when his goal gave Rangers a 2-1 lead.
With the Boro defence allowing Alex Baptiste’s ball from the back to run through to keeper Darren Randolph, Mackie chased down what many considered a lost cause. His presence created uncertainty, leading Randolph to kick the ball against the R’s man, who gratefully rolled the ball into the unguarded net.
“I do that sort of thing all the time and often nothing comes from it, but that goal shows that it’s worthwhile to do, not giving up,” he said.
“I’ll carry on doing that and hopefully score more goals on the back of it.
“You can create goals on the back of defenders’ mistakes in this league and I think if you force the issue there’s opportunities to score.”
Unfortunately QPR were unable to hold out for all three points, or even a share of the spoils, with Boro running out 3-2 winners.
Rangers have led in three of their four away games this season, and have yet to have a win to show for their efforts. If the R’s are to enjoy a successful campaign, Mackie says that has to change – and the squad are aware of that.
“We were bitterly disappointed not to take something from the Boro game having led twice – and that’s a measure of the standards we have set in the dressing room and where we are looking to go,” he said.
“With the squad Middlesbrough have they should be right up there this season, so to go there and give them a game like we did shows we’re doing something right.
“I said after the game that we have to learn quickly, and that’s been the message from the gaffer this week as well.
“We need to do things a bit differently to what we have been doing when we are winning games away from home. We need to find a way to see games out, and I agree with that. If we can do that, maybe our fortunes will change on the road.
“People who have seen us play away from home will know that we have been in all the games but it’s been little things that have cost us and we’re working to eradicate those.”
QPR’s pressing style this campaign has gone down well with the R’s fans, and Mackie is a big fan of the energetic approach Ian Holloway demands.
“We are a front-foot team this season,” Mackie said.
“We are at people and it’s going to be a tough game when you play against us – that’s what we want our mantra to be.
“If we can play good football after that, then great. But first and foremost we want to be aggressive in our press around the pitch.”
On Saturday, QPR host a Burton Albion team who are coming into form after a difficult start to the campaign.
Wednesday night’s 4-1 Carabao Cup defeat at Manchester United aside, Nigel Clough’s men might be 19th in the table but they have taken four points from their last two league games after following up on a 0-0 draw at Norwich with a 2-1 win over Fulham.
“There shouldn’t be any complacency in our squad because of the hunger and desire that exists within it,” Mackie said.
“The manager demands that level of desire too.”
With Albion’s 2-1 win at Loftus Road last season still fresh in his mind, Mackie added: “People may say on paper this is a game we should win, but it’s not going to be easy to do that - we saw that last year.
“The only way we are going to come out with a win is if we play 100 per cent at it.
“If we do that I honestly don’t think many teams can live with us. If we come five or ten per cent away from that then we’ll have a problem – whether that’s against Burton Albion, Middlesbrough or anyone else in this league.
“But at home we always feel we need to get three points and that’s our soul aim.”
When I drop my boy to school in the morning he always gives me a thumbs up, so it’s one for my boy.