QPR defender: there’s better to come

CLINT Hill believes the best is yet to come from QPR – despite the club’s six-point lead at the top of the Championship.

CLINT Hill believes the best is yet to come from QPR – despite the club’s six-point lead at the top of the Championship.

Rangers have thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the league in the first two months of the season, winning eight games out of 10 to build a healthy advantage over second-placed Cardiff.

But Neil Warnock’s side have ridden their luck in recent games – their 3-0 scoreline against Doncaster was extremely flattering and Hill acknowledged that they were fortunate to win at Crystal Palace last weekend.

“I think we can get better,” the Rs defender told the Times. “The last three or four games we haven’t played to our full potential and Palace played very well – we were lucky to win in the end.

“People might say we’re using up our luck but you’ve got to create luck too and, if you keep it tight and stay in the game, you never know – you might just get a sneaky one.

“It was a long week and coming to Palace at the end of it was always going to be difficult. But we’ve got good players – and good ones injured who will be back after the international break.”

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Along with team-mate Shaun Derry, Hill was returning to Selhurst Park for the first time since the pair helped Palace to stay up last season and then both followed Warnock to Rangers.

While the left-back was the target of some choice remarks from the Eagles faithful, he stressed: “No matter how much abuse the fans give me taking throw-ins, they’ll never change what I thought of the place when I was there.

“We went through a lot in those two years and it was weird being back at Selhurst Park, going in the away dressing-room and playing against some of the lads you know.

“I was sitting in the dressing-room afterwards with Dezza and said to him ‘I didn’t enjoy that one bit’. For me, the whole game was totally surreal and emotional.”

The match brought Rangers’ incredible defensive run to an end when Kieron Cadogan netted Palace’s 89th-minute equaliser – the first time the Rs’ back line had been breached since James Bailey scored for Derby in late August.

But three goals conceded in 10 league games is still an impressive statistic, particularly given that Hill, right-backs Bradley Orr and Kyle Walker and goalkeeper Paddy Kenny had not played for QPR before this season.

“Maybe it should have taken a while with communication problems and so on, but we’re all experienced in the Championship,” added Hill. “Even Kyle’s played a lot of games for someone of such a young age.

“We’ve quickly become a strong unit, we haven’t conceded many and if we can keep that to a minimum in every game, the players who have that little bit of quality can take advantage.

“Mistakes play a big part in this league, from corners and free-kicks and stuff like that, and we’ve tried to cut those out. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved, but there’s a long way to go yet.

“It could be only around the corner that we start conceding silly goals. This league is unforgiving and it’s going to be a long, hard slog.”

n JAMIE Mackie will become only the third QPR player to represent Scotland at senior level if he features in this week’s European Championship qualifiers.

Mackie – who is eligible to play for Scotland through his grandfather – earned a call-up to Craig Levein’s squad on the back of his impressive start to the season at Rangers.

The 25-year-old striker could be involved when the Scots face the Czech Republic on Friday and world and European champions Spain four days later – which would make him the Rs’ first Scotland international since John Spencer in 1997.

The only other member of that group is Don Masson, who won 14 caps for Scotland to help them qualify for the World Cup finals in 1978.