Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has hit back at the soothsayers who wrote his side off as relegation certainties following his side's encouraging performance at West Ham United.

The Scotsman had to field questions about the psychological impact of last week's home draw with Derby County which dropped Blues into the relegation places. However, a point was enough to drag his side out of the bottom three but McLeish is not getting carried away.

"When you go into the bottom three it is a frenzy and people say you're doomed, and we are out of the bottom three this week, but it means nothing until May when everything is decided," McLeish said.

"We have to allow this young team to develop. The average age of this team is 24. We have Muamba who is 19, Larsson who is 22, McFadden is 24, Forssell is 25, Ridgewell is only 23. I could go on.

"In terms of the Premier League they are inexperienced but I am sure if we show that same kind of spirit we have a chance to stay in this league. We were all doom and gloom last week but I said there was always the next game and we have got a good positive result.

"We had to do a lot of defending but it was a really spirited performance from the lads.

Just after we were written off last week we have bounced back again."

The Birmingham boss realises that ultimately victories will be what decides his side's fate and he lamented the missed opportunities which could have turned a good day into an excellent one.

"I thought we had a lot of the ball in the first half with McFadden, Forssell and McSheffrey quite prominent but we didn't quite make as much of the opportunities as I would have liked," he said.

"In the second half it was more fleeting but we still had chances. With a bit of luck, McSheffrey's deflected shot could have found the net and Mikael finally got a shot off as we were taking them off, and that went close."

McLeish hailed the impact of McFadden, his £5 million transfer window signing, and was delighted he got off the mark with his first goal for the club.

McFadden kept his cool to fire home Blues' equaliser from the penalty spot in the 16th minute after he was pulled down by Hammers defender Lucas Neill.

"I am pleased he got off the mark because he deserved it," McLeish said. "He put in a good performance and caused West Ham a lot of problems, especially in the first half.

"What was pleasing for me was, when we hadn't got the best out of him in the second half, with three minutes to go he was still chasing, closing down and putting pressure on defenders. He has the energy to do that.

"I don't think he is an out-and-out goal scorer but hopefully he will provide a few as well with his creativity. He will score the occasional goal and he is dangerous when he gets the target in his sights and the ball is on that left foot of his."

McLeish added that, in his opinion, there was no question that the award of the penalty by referee Mark Clattenberg was the correct decision, despite the protestations of West Ham manager Alan Curbishley.

"There was no doubt about it," he said. "McFadden has done well to get the wrong side of the defender and there was a clear shirt pull when he was about to pull the trigger.

"He worked it himself with a great piece of skill to dummy the defender and get behind him. It was a clear penalty."