I was due a goal, says Best
Manager Alan Pardew admitted as he sent hot-shot Demba Ba off to the African Nations Cup earlier this month that others would have to step up to the plate in his absence.
Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez answered the call in the FA Cup against Blackburn last week, and Best ended his four-month drought yesterday to fire his side to Premier League victory over QPR.
The 25-year-old Republic of Ireland international, whose third and last strike of the season had come at Aston Villa on September 17, turned expertly to fire past keeper Paddy Kenny and provide further evidence that 15-goal Ba's sabbatical might not prove too costly after all.
Best admitted: "It was due. I did need a goal.
"I didn't beat myself up and get myself down, I knew it was a matter of time. But it was a nice goal and hopefully it will spur me on to many more.
"Obviously, a striker likes to score very week, but if you are not scoring, then the main thing is to help the team and do something else and bring something else.
"But I got the goal and the team got the three points, so it was a massive thing."
Pardew has invested huge faith in Best after suffering the disappointment of not managing to land the big-name striker he has targeted since Andy Carroll's £35million departure for Liverpool 12 months ago.
Having indicated he would be concentrating on a central defender rather than attacking reinforcement during the current transfer window with Ba having proved a spectacular bargain buy, it has since emerged that the Magpies have rekindled their interest in Paris St Germain's Turkey international Mevlut Erding.
In the circumstances, Best's contribution could hardly have been more timely.
Pardew said: "Leon has played a lot of games for us this year and we haven't lost many when he has started.
"But it was good for him to get a goal. It's good for his confidence and good for us."
Victory over Rangers eased Newcastle into sixth place in the table, but it was achieved largely as a result of hard graft on a day when they were far from at their fluent best.
Already without Senegal international Ba and Ivory Coast counterpart Cheick Tiote, Pardew lost a third influential man when Yohan Cabaye left the field on a stretcher after finding himself on the rough end of a Shaun Derry tackle.
The Frenchman's departure prompted a reshuffle which the manager later revealed he was already considering after a sub-standard start, and Ben Arfa's arrival from the bench added fresh impetus.
Best's goal put the home side in the ascendancy, and although Jay Bothroyd was denied by keeper Tim Krul shortly after the break, they never looked like allowing the points to slip from their grasp.
Significantly, Best and Tiote's replacement, Danny Guthrie, were among their better performers, and the former believes that is evidence of the depth within Pardew's squad.
He said: "It goes to show how good we are as a squad. Danny did very well - he got man of the match and he has done it a few times.
"He's a very good player and sometimes, people don't give him the respect he is due.
"He showed it today, and Hatem as well. When he came on, he did very, very well.
"That's what we are about. We are about the starting XI to do a job and the people who are coming on doing a job just as well."
Newcastle will head for Fulham next Saturday looking to extend a run of four wins in five games before leaving an increasingly wintry Tyneside behind for a few days.
Pardew said: "After Fulham, we are going to go away and get some sun on our backs.
"It's been a long Christmas programme for us and we have had a good Christmas, really good, especially the back end of it, so I am really pleased at the minute."