Ridgewell hails Zigic efforts

Zigic struggled to make an impact after his £6 million summer

move from Valencia and was held up to ridicule and regarded as a

laughing stock on some Blues’ fans message boards. But City boss

Alex McLeish never lost faith in the Serbian international, urged

him to install more aggression into his game – and now he is

reaping the rewards. Zigic followed up his winner against West Ham

last weekend with an injury-time decider against Stoke at St.

Andrew’s on Saturday as he netted for the third successive match.

It enabled Birmingham to seal back-to-back league wins for the

first time in 14 months. City defender Ridgewell said: “It is

difficult when people are talking about you and there are bits and

bobs being said. “But Ziggy has kept focused on what he needs to do

and is getting his rewards at the moment. “It might have affected

some people. It has affected bigger players before, that sort of

thing. “It shows how broad his shoulders are and how mature and

good a player he is. “He is starting to cause more problems now. He

is starting to get more aggressive and more used to the league.”

Ridgewell added: “It is not easy for anyone to come into the league

and try and put their stamp on it. “He’s had to learn the league,

and learn about us, and we’ve had to learn about him as well. “It

is fantastic for him at the moment and we hope it continues. “Once

Ziggy gets a pre-season under him with us, hopefully that will help

him as well.” Zigic’s strike partner Obafemi Martins, who is on

loan from Rubin Kazan, did well on his debut and is confident he

will score the goals to ensure Birmingham stay up. He said: “When

you play Stoke, it is going to be more difficult but I’m back now

and have the focus now and try to score goals. “What was Russia

like? I am not going to say anything about that but I’m glad to be

back in England and I will score a lot of goals. “Would I like to

come here permanently? We will see what is going to happen. I have

a couple of months here. “My hope is to stay and score goals and

keep Birmingham up.” Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic apologised to his

Stoke team-mates after spilling a shot from David Bentley before

Cameron Jerome pounced on the loose ball and centred for Zigic to

head home. Stoke boss Tony Pulis said: “We have played Birmingham

on their ground and I am not sure Asmir has had a real shot to save

in the 90 minutes. “We are devastated to have got nothing out of

that game. “Asmir really should have collected that ball. It has

come out of his hands. He came into the dressing room and held his

hand up. “Bentley shoots from the edge of the box straight at Asmir

and unfortunately the kid has not held it and from that point

onwards we are in trouble.” Pulis added: “I didn’t think we

deserved to lose the game. It’s always a tough game coming to

Birmingham. “But you have to play the time out. There were three

minutes added on and I think they scored in the 93rd minute.”