George Burley hailed Chris Baird after the central defender scored his first goal for Saints.

Baird was frozen out of the side for so long until Burley took over.

The Northern Ireland international failed to establish himself at all under Gordon Strachan, Paul Sturrock, Steve Wigley or Harry Redknapp.

But since Burley's arrival he has established himself as a first team regular.

First it was at right back and this season in the centre of defence.

And Burley revealed he was ecstatic to see Baird get off the mark.

He said: "I was delighted for Chris to get his first senior goal.

"He has probably been our best player this season and has been terrific since I came to the club.

"He deserved to open his account."

The win against Luton made it five games unbeaten for Saints and 11 points out of their last possible 15.

It pushed them up to seventh in the table with just goal difference keeping them out of the play-off places.

More importantly, they are just seven points off the leaders and face one of the three sides locked together at the top, Birmingham, at St Mary's on Wednesday.

Burley said: "We need to find some consistency and we are now unbeaten in five which keeps the momentum going.

"That's very important.

"This keeps us in touch with the top six and sets us up for Wednesday.

"Birmingham are in good form and we are really looking forward to that one.

"I was very pleased at half-time with the way we had passed and moved.

"We created a lot of chances and played some great stuff.

"But we did not kick on in the second half. We gave a bad goal away and they put us under a bit of pressure.

"When you are only one up it can go either way, but we held on well and this was a good win for us."