If any evidence was needed Mick McCarthy’s freebies are far more than just a cohesive, physical, hard-to-beat long-ball team, it was there Saturday.
Middlesbrough thought they had us sussed: bully the supposed bullies.
But when it needed more than just a few hard-working gears to plough through another top team, this Tractor didn’t misfire.
The moves leading up to both goals in the 2-0 win over Middlesbrough were each worthy of the rare Football League feature slot assigned to the top-four clash at Portman Road.
Even Manish and Leroy are not able to continue ignoring Mick’s revolution.
I can’t claim to have foreseen how accelerated it would be (predicting just outside the play-offs). Top 10 going into Christmas, like our feathered friends Norwich, would have had me praising Mick and Terry Connor’s work on an enforced shoestring budget.
But to go into Boxing Day at fellow surprise package Brentford (1pm) a point clear of them in second is the perfect Christmas present money can’t buy.
Where it all ends, who knows (we’re only half way ahead of hosting Charlton on Tuesday (7.45pm) — but let’s just enjoy it now, while we can.
It’s a sad reality that good things never last (just ask Liverpool fans).
Equally as delightfully surprising as looking at the table is Teddy Bishop’s explosion into the first-team.
Seven scouts (I understand) turned up to watch Tyrone Mings, not knowing he had pulled out with a sceptic toe.
But it was far from a wasted trip with ‘the Bish’ running the show.
All that’s left to write is that I hope all readers enjoy their Christmas and, maybe, Santa is a Tractor Boy after all!