“It’s always sweeter to win it in the last minute, but I think we deserved it,” insisted Heckingbottom. “We nullified them throughout and at times played some good stuff.
“We give everything and leave everything on the pitch - we have a go and see where it takes us. The fitness of the boys is fantastic.
“They’ve carried the belief through from last season and are relishing being in the Championship. We have to keep striving to get better, though, as there will be bigger challenges ahead.”
Barnsley made a superb start, taking a fourth-minute lead through Marley Watkins. Ryan Kent’s 20-yard strike was parried behind by Hoops goalkeeper Alex Smithies for a corner and from the resultant set-piece, Alfie Mawson headed the ball across the box for Watkins to nod home from three yards out.
All of Barnsley’s first-half endeavour was undone within 30 seconds of the restart, though, as Marc Roberts was penalised for a push on Sebastian Polter in the box, and Tjaronn Chery dispatched the spot-kick with aplomb to haul the Londoners level.
QPR then moved 2-1 ahead with a second spot-kick, this time converted by Polter, after James Bree sent Yeni Ngbakoto flying.
A trademark Conor Hourihane free-kick - after he was fouled - drew Barnsley level and then Scowen popped up to ram home the winner, converting sub Stefan Payne’s cross, with QPR’s misery completed by Grant Hall seeing red deep into injury-time after collecting a second yellow card for a foul on Payne.
“Adam Davies barely had a save to make, apart from the two penalties,” added Heckingbottom. “And it was another captain’s performance from Conor again.”
Angry QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was unhappy about the performance of referee Darren Bond, comparing the game to ‘the wild west’.
“Barnsley were the better side in the first half, but we got ourselves together in the second half and played better and got the two goals from deserved penalties,” said the Dutchman.
“But if the referee is going to give one of those soft free-kicks for their second goal, that he hasn’t been giving all game, I think that is painful.
“And then the third goal, what is the difference between the second goal? The player is in the air, trying to win the ball, he gets a nudge, what is the difference? I don’t understand it.
“Referees need to make decisions and it looked like the wild west out there. They could do what they wanted, there was no authority - we are all hammering players for not surrounding referees, but it is because of referees like this that it keeps happening.
“You cannot have those kind of decisions made and expect the players to just stand there and take it. It is not acceptable.”
On Hall’s sending-off, he added: “It was a free-kick, but I thought the referee was on a mission.”