The Hornets reacquainted themselves with the Championship after a five-year absence with the sort of gritty win you need to chisel out regularly if you are going to have a real crack at navigating a way out of this notoriously difficult division.
Boro’s Britt Assombalonga came close to levelling the scores on several occasions and the visitors’ best opening came when the frontman’s curling free-kick was tipped over the bar by Hornets ‘keeper Ben Foster.
Whether Ivic can maintain the momentum rests largely on which players are sold before the transfer deadline, with Deeney and Welbeck reportedly close to joining Premier League clubs. But in young, hungry players such as Pedro and Jeremy Ngakia – making his debut at right-back following his move from West Ham – coupled with old hands such as Foster, Murray and the match-winner Cathcart, he will be hopeful of a successful first campaign in English football.
The official justifications for our many, many absences – 17, reportedly… that it’s hard to keep track tells you everything – range from injured to ill to unfit, often vague and understandably so. There’s injured and there’s “injured”, one suspects. Twitter rumour claims that Craig Dawson has refused to play, which if true given his miserable half-arsed effort against Spurs is comparable to Andy Cole’s notorious retirement from international duty.