Ross McCormack showed why Leeds’ board was so keen to keep a hold of him in the summer as he inspired a 4-0 rout of Birmingham City.
Middlesbrough made repeated offers for McCormack before the Scotland international striker signed an improved deal in August.
Since then he has continued to pay back the club’s faith, most notably during a stunning first-half against Blues that saw him score the first and play a major part in goals from Rodolph Austin and Matt Smith before the break.
Leeds were therefore already out of sight at half-way and with giant striker Smith adding his second in the second half, the hosts romped to their biggest home win since a 4-0 eclipse of Shrewsbury Town in the Capital Cup at the start of last season.
Delighted Leeds manager Brian McDermott said: “The board backed me on Ross when they were offered good money for him and didn’t take it. His goal was special, he worked very hard and his partnership with Matt Smith was very good.”
It was only Leeds’ second win in seven games.
“We managed to get some width into the team today and that was important,” McDermott said.
“My teams have always had width, as anyone who saw Reading when I was there will tell you.
“We spoke beforehand about having a winning mentality. The more games you play, the more you learn how to win and today we got closer to where we want to be.”
McDermott explained that he took Austin off just before the end so the Leeds crowd could show their appreciation for his efforts.
“He led by example and I wanted him to see what the fans thought of him,” he said.
Crestfallen Birmingham manager Lee Clark made no attempt to hide his disappointment.
“I don’t do excuses. I do reality. I will never tell anyone what I tell players in the dressing room but we are all disappointed,” he said.
“That is not acceptable to the badge on the front of the jersey.
“We didn’t do anything right in the first half and our defending by the whole 11 was very poor. Our passing and forward play were very average in the first half, so it was a frustrating afternoon and we got what we deserved.”
Teenage central defender Dan Burn, on loan from Fulham, was hauled off at half-time after a nightmare 45 minutes, but Clark said: “The boy has been brilliant for us this season.
“He is only 19, we have some very young players and they will have ups and downs.
“He made a mistake against Bolton in our last match and he has had an indifferent afternoon, as all players do in their careers.
“We will stick with him because he has been a very good player for us and he will be again.”