FULL marks to Ralph Hasenhuttl and his team for delivering the six points Saints so badly needed in the build up to Christmas.

The wins against Watford and Norwich will have given everyone a lift on and off the pitch.

If it had gone the other way the longest journey of the season in the league, at Newcastle on Sunday, would have seemed even longer.

James Ward-Prowse deserves a lot of credit for his set pieces, which provided the winning goal against Watford an assist in the 2-1 win against Norwich, while his corner also led to the winning goal.

I think he’s the best in the Premiership at free kicks and corners. The goal against Watford was fantastic.

That sort of ability is not something you’re born with, it takes many hours of practice.

I’m sure he’s one of those who stays after the training session is over and gets the goalkeeper to stay behind to practise free-kicks, penalties and corners.

The result was three set-pieces that were to thank for five of the six points we gained against Watford and Norwich.

So now we’re looking up more than down. There are more points between us and Watford than there are between us and Manchester United.

Our attacking left-back Ryan Bertrand also caught my eye, by showing the sort of qualities I think we need. He showed great energy to get up and down the left flank, while encouraging his teammates and of course scoring the winning goal, not from 20-30 yards but from a yard off the line.

Three wins in a row would of course be fantastic for Ralph, who appears to have been given the full support of the board. Well done them.

It’s a good thing because we read every day now about managers who have only been given one or two more games, at Everton and Manchester United for example.

To hear total encouragement from the Saints fans from the start of the Norwich game was also far preferable to the booing we’ve heard in recent weeks.

So well done to the manager and his staff and mainly the players for their reaction.

There seems to be extra passion, leadership and encouragement on and off the pitch.

WHEN I go to St Mary’s these days I’m a guest of a good friend of mine, Pat Trant, at the back of the Itchen Stand.

It’s always interesting to see who’s in the lounge near our box because that’s where scouts from other clubs convene.

At half-time against Norwich I bumped into Mark Dennis who was a guest next door but one from us, but also Dennis Rofe who was there scouting for Wolves.

We talked about the good old days and the plight of certain clubs popped up, one of which was Everton. I said my memories of Everton, Liverpool and Arsenal were not only to do with their managers and top players but certain people in the boardrooms, like Peter Robinson at Liverpool and Ken Friar at Arsenal. The days of Ken and Peter as CEOs have gone but Bill Kenwright is still at Everton as chairman. All were real gentlemen and Bill is Everton’s chairman. He is very involved in the entertainment industry but all three were very loyal to their managers and staff.

Poor Bill must be having a terrible time with his team sinking down the league. Parting company with Marco Silva would have hurt him a great deal.

ALL the best to Saints at Newcastle tomorrow.

One of the best journeys I recall back from a game was after we won at Newcastle in Alan Ball’s first game as the club’s manager in January 1994.

They were midway through an excellent first season as a Premier League club under Kevin Keegan and one of our goalscorers was Neil Maddison, a Geordie lad, whose family were all at the game.

I remember going down to the dressing room, lifting up Bally and the players were singing on the bus all the way home. No doubt Saints will be flying there and back but let’s hope there’s plenty of singing on the plane.

AT St Mary’s on Wednesday night I bumped into a gentleman in the lift before the game.

He kept mispronouncing Newcastle as ‘Newcarstle’ so told him there’s no ‘ar’ in Newcastle. We did have a laugh. By the time we got to the third floor he was speaking enough Geordie to be able to buy a programme and a pie at St James’ Park!