Carlos Pena backed to shine in Graeme Murty's new diamond formation
The Mexican was back in the Light Blues line-up, for the first time since former manager Pedro Caixinha was axed, against Aberdeen on Wednesday night.
And he justified his recall with the crucial second goal as Murty’s men dazzled in a 3-0 win over the Dons.
Pena has struggled to justify his £2.5 million price tag after his summer switch from CD Guadalajara but put in one of his best displays yet after Murty slotted him in at the head of his narrow four-man midfield.
With Ryan Jack, Jason Holt and Ross McCrorie shoring things up, Pena was freed up to make his trademark runs into the box and it paid off as he slotted home from Holt’s cross.
Now Murty believes he has found the perfect system to get the best out of the 27-year-old.
He said: “Someone asked me if he owed me a performance. He doesn’t owe me anything. He just has to go and perform.
“I was particularly pleased he got in there and scored a goal, that’s what he’s good at.
“The shape suited him, having those people around him in the middle of the pitch. That’s why you bring him into the team, to arrive in the box like that.
“There were elements of our play from other people that allowed him to thrive in that position, which I was really pleased about.”