They say that if something's really worth having, then it's worth waiting for.

And it's hard to believe that there's a claret and blue wearing supporter out there who did not wake up this morning with a smile as wide as the Aston Expressway.

For the first time since their league title winning season of 1980-81, Aston Villa did the league double over Birmingham City.

The overall reward, come the end of this thoroughly forgettable campaign, will not be nearly as great this time, of course.

This Villa side, it should be quickly reminded, have won only nine times in the Premiership this season. And that does not even begin to compare with the 26 victories so memorably clocked up by Ron Saunders' men did a quarter of a century ago.

But two wins against the Blues would always be the highlight of any season. Certainly in the modern era when the men from St Andrew's have displaced West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers as Villa's main rivals.

And, judging by some of the crueler chants directed from the Holte End at the away end, if this derby double has pointed Blues even further in the direction of the drop, then that may prove almost as popular as Villa's title win 25 years ago.

Admittedly, it was hardly what Villa deserved, given the overall flow of the contest.

Blues had enjoyed no luck on the injury front, before, during and even in the pre-match kickabout, in losing three such key players as Jiri Jarosik, Matthew Upson and David Dunn. And their luck remained out over the course of the 90 minutes.

Their two big battering rams Emile Heskey and Chris Sutton were a constant threat, winning most of the aerial duels, without getting anything to drop kindly for them. Whereas Villa, who did get the breaks, for once had the men to take them.

It could be said that, if Milan Baros had finished like this one night at Blackburn in early March, then Villa would not have been left in the mess they've been in over the last six weeks.

But Baros took his two chances with clinical efficiency to hint at a happy World Cup ahead in two months' time. And if there is a happier story in Germany this summer than Gary Cahill's spectacular first goal for Villa, then good luck to whoever has that particular starring role.

To eclipse two-goal Baros took some doing. But, in one inspired moment, and at the Holte End too, Cahill did it with a strike that will have him waking up for weeks in the middle of the night reliving the excitement.

Cahill had been expected to do his stuff in one box, trying to fill the hole left by skipper Olof Mellberg's reluctance to risk his hamstring.

Now the shirt is Cahill's for the rest of the season, as it would be hard for manager David O'Leary to bring back Mellberg in place of the Holte End's new folk hero.

O'Leary opted for three changes to the starting lineup from the first of Villa Park's two Sunday derbies, the 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

Fit-again James Milner and Gareth Barry made their expected returns, in place of Lee Hendrie and Gabby Agbonlahor respectively. But there was one other fresh injury problem, an overnight illness forcing out Wilfred Bouma, who was replaced by a determined Jlloyd Samuel.

Blues settled better, but it was Villa who struck the telling early blow.

Milner, inevitably, was involved, earning space with a flick over Mat Sadler's head that may have bordered on the dangerous, according to the Blues camp.

But the young Tyke got away with it, to feed the ball back to Aaron Hughes. And the Irishman's cross, coupled with the near-post dummy created by Steven Davis, leaving Baros unmarked five yards out. Baros still needed a touch but struck with devastating effect.

Hughes then had a role to play at the other end, clearing off the line in a mad scramble from Martin Taylor. But

Villa were close to a second when, fed by Kevin Phillips, Davis whistled a right-foot shot just over the bar.

It was effectively Davis's last contribution as he was forced to concede defeat to a thigh strain, becoming the second player to depart the fray early, after Dunn's latest injury.

And, as Davis was being helped round the dog track, having been replaced by teenager Craig Gardner, Blues hit back.

Kenny Cunningham's free kick from deep on the left should have been a routine business to defend. But Sutton outjumped Liam Ridgewell, Heskey won the second header. And, although Sutton had a swing at it and missed, the ball bounced back into his path and this time he buried it to claim his first goal for the club.

Baros tried to hit back when, released by Barry down the left, he cut in and forced another save. But Blues then went close, Heskey heading wide from Sutton's flick-on.

It was Villa who carved out the first good second-half chance. Even as the visiting bench were screaming blue murder over a challenge by Phillips that left Butt holding his face, the former England striker guided in Gardner. And the young midfielder was just inches wide with his low right-foot shot. But it was to be another of O'Leary's young bucks who got the breakthrough.

Milner was again involved in the build-up on the right, Ridgewell's high floated cross caused confusion, and the second of two touches from Phillips was a vital header in the direction of Cahill. But what happened next was culled straight from the pages of Roy of the Rovers.

Cahill produced an athletic leap that would have done credit to Rudolf Nureyev, and his text-book scissors kick screamed in.

It did nothing to change the game's overall pattern as Blues continued to do most of the pressing, pinging balls into the Villa box with increasing desperation.

But, when Forssell's volley was spilled by Sorensen, Ridgewell cleared. Then the Villa keeper was perhaps lucky to see Heskey shoot straight at him. And Forssell and Sutton both had shots charged down in the same scramble.

But then came the killer blow when Baros, lucky not to be sent off for a blatant dive on the edge of the Blues box having already been booked, bagged his second.

Once again, Baros got away with it in the build-up as his blatant foul on Martin Taylor went unpunished. But he fed Milner, the young winger exchanged passes with second-half substitute Juan Pablo Angel and threaded it right for Baros to drill the ball home.

After Forssell had tested Sorensen one more time, Baros even had a couple of late chances to claim his hat-trick. But, by then, it was all immaterial.

And Villa Park, disappointingly almost 2,500 below capacity, was already starting to bounce, in anticipation of a first home league win over Blues since Peter Withe did the job back in October 1983.