Rotherham head coach Leam Richardson said his players deserved the “little bit of luck” that earned them a battling 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

The Millers had been on an abject run of 11 games without a victory, dating back to October. That run had seen the departure of Matt Taylor as manager and Rotherham sink to the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship.

But an unexpected three points in this match has reignited a bit of hope.

Richardson, who picked up his first points in the Millers hot-seat, said: “The credit needs to go to the players for the victory.

“I class it as three games in charge and with the work ethic and level of performance they have shown, they have deserved that little bit of luck.

“We are low on bodies and we have players playing out of position. Some are having to do things that are quite foreign to them.

“But it’s a choice to tackle, head and run back and stay connected to your team-mates with recovery runs. We have that in abundance.

“With regards to confidence levels, when you put so much effort in, you want a reward for it.

“I thought we were a little bit passive first half. We don’t want to be like that. We have front-footed players.

“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

Middlesbrough missed a host of chances with both Sam Greenwood and Isaiah Jones culpable of not taking big opportunities.

Greenwood also rattled the crossbar and substitute Riley McGree saw his effort turned onto a post by Viktor Johansson.

Rotherham also had Hakeem Odoffin and Seb Revan to thank for bravely blocking goal-bound efforts as Middlesbrough cranked up the pressure in the second half.

The Millers certainly rode their luck and got some more after 72 minutes with Cohen Bramall’s misplaced cross wrong-footing Tom Glover and flying into the far corner of the net.

Middlesbrough also felt they should have had a second-half penalty when Alex Bangura went down under a challenge from Odoffin.

Boro head coach Michael Carrick said: “I’m baffled, to be honest. I know referees have a tough job. It’s not even a tussle or a little trip, he just takes him out.

“For the life of me I don’t understand how he can’t give the decision there. It’s a massive moment and the less I say about it is probably the better.

“Whatever the referee says about it, we are not going to agree. It was so obvious. It’s crazy.

“I think it’s the first time we have not conceded a shot and lost the game.

“We created enough to score one or two at least. We have got goals in the team. We are playing largely good football. The boys will be fine.

“It’s very difficult to be critical of the boys. We controlled it. It’s a very strange game sometimes.

“They (Rotherham) are always in the game until you kill them off. We dealt with them so well. We will take a lot from it and look forward to our next game.”