It's not entirely clear who writes Steve Bruce's scripts these days, but they've suddenly become a great read for the blue half of Birmingham.

With a heart-stopping sense of drama, Birmingham City striker Mikael Forssell picked his moment to score his first league goal from open play two years.

Forssell's well-taken 87th-minute strike won Blues three precious points to lift them out of the Premiership's bottom three. And, with three games left, their fate is now in their own hands.

Just three days after the misery of a morale-shattering derby defeat to Aston Villa, this was a Blues victory that also means their great rivals from across the city are, mathematically speaking, not yet safe.

But, as far as the vast majority of Blues fans inside St Andrew's last night were concerned, the most unforget-table memory of Forssell's late strike was the way it shut up Robbie Savage.

Blues' least favourite former son had ruffled feathers before the match when he refused to shake the hand of one of his main detractors, Blues chairman David Gold.

Gold shared his wrath with local radio listeners, while Savage's response was to do it with deeds not words by equalising Nicky Butt's opener with just 13 minutes left.

Had Savage's equaliser ultimately sent Blues down, it would have been a particularly bitter pill for Blues to swallow. But up popped Fors-sell to score his eighth goal in all competitions this season.

The reception for Savage at the start had certainly not been warm. But it was possibly less hostile than expected.

Rather than any inflammatory contribution from Savage, it was actually his old Manchester United youth team pal Butt who set the contest alight with an unpunished late challenge on Steven Reid.

Blues had four good chances before the break but all were spurned. Julian Gray came closest when he hammered in a goalbound effort from Jermaine Pennant's right-wing cross, but Rovers keeper Brad Friedel made a great save, tipping it over. Then Emile Heskey - with just one goal to his name now in 23 starts - headed too high, before strike partner Chris Sutton contrived an unbelievable miss against his old club from Gray's cross.

Gray again came close just before the break from an opening created by sub Mario Melchiot's cross-field ball, but his left-foot screamer bounced against the right stanchion.

Blues went close again at the start of the second half when one of their other Rovers old boys Martin Taylor headed tamely wide. But Blackburn, who had left Craig Bellamy stranded up front, were at last starting to make chances. And, after David Bentley had shot wide, Blues had an amazing escape when Zurab Khizanishvili's header came back off the base

of the post. But that was just the trigger Blues needed, as they went straight up the field to cash in. Heskey's mishit shot fell kindly for Gray, he squared across and Butt was at the far post to fire home from close range.

Then came the moment Blues fans had dreaded.

In 15 months at Blackburn, Savage had not scored. But, when Maik Taylor spectacularly blocked Blackburn half-time substitute Sergio Peter's shot, the ball fell fatefully, almost magnetically, onto Savage's right foot, and after his mis-hit effort trickled into the bottom corner, his glee was understandable.

But, just when Blues' luck seemed out after two penalty shouts were turned down, Forssell was in the right place at the right time to rediscover his goal touch, turning on a sixpence to drill the ball inside Friedel's right post.

* Blues yesterday announced that they have taken up the two-year option on Matthew Upson's contract, tying him to St. Andrew's until June 2008. It is a well-timed tonic for Upson just three days after rupturing his Achilles tendon in a freak accident before the game at Villa Park.