Tony Mowbray has praised midfielder Malaury Martin for his professionalism and attitude despite not being selected on a regular basis.
When he is called upon, the Frenchman is capable of the spectacular as he showed at Ashton Gate by firing in a stunning last-minute free-kick.
The Boro boss admitted: "I feel sorry for Malaury sometimes. He's a good lad and he probably feels he needs to start more.
"But I have to make hard decisions and have to pick the side I think will hurt the opposition the most."
This was not the first time this season that Martin has scored from long range as he fired home to secure a 3-1 win against Birmingham - but he was reluctant to pick his favourite of the two.
"I don't know if it was better than my goal versus Birmingham," said Martin. "I was just happy to score and happy we won, it was a good day for the team.
"I'm always working on my free-kicks in training, some of them go in, some of them, well let's say they don't!"
Middlesbrough are in fourth place and still very much in touch with the league's pace setters.
Martin concluded: "It was good for the team to win, to stay in contact with the top teams and of course they lost which helped. We will all continue to do our very best to get them to where everyone wants to be."