GARY Bowyer lavished praise on newly crowned player of the year Tom Cairney after his breathtaking solo goal set Blackburn Rovers on their way to a thrilling 4-3 home victory over Wigan Athletic in their final game of the season on Saturday.

Cairney, after picking up the ball midway into the Latics half, danced past two defenders before firing in off the post with his unfavoured right-foot.

And Rovers boss Bowyer said: “If that was in the Premiership or that was abroad there would be re-runs of it all night – there probably will be in Tom’s house!

“It was a fantastic ability and to put it in with his right foot as well.”

The Championship player of the month Rudy Gestede then took his tally for the term up to 13 with a well-taken double before top-scorer Jordan Rhodes netted his 25th goal of the season to ensure Bowyer’s in-form side made it three straight wins for their first time since January 2008.

But, with Brighton & Hove Albion triumphing at Nottingham Forest and Reading drawing at home to Burnley, the win was not enough for Rovers to finish in the play-offs.

“Our objective was to win the game first and foremost,” said Bowyer.

“One or two people were saying what the other scores were at half-time but I wasn’t interested – I just wanted to win the game.”

Before the match Cairney was presented with his player of the year award.

Jason Lowe received the Peter White Memorial Trophy after his stunning winner at home to Middlesbrough in November was voted goal of the season.

The award is named in memory of former Lancashire Telegraph Blackburn Rovers reporter Peter White.