He may have had his critics on his back this season after a string of below par performances but Bulgarian International Stiliyan Petrov believes he may have turned the corner and finally won the Villa faithful over with his fine derby day exploits, writes Lisa Smith.
Petrov was central to Villa's midfield battle against Steve Bruce's Birmingham City side at St Andrew's on Sunday and it was his cross across the face of the Blues goal aimed for the Villa forwards which was inadvertently met by Liam Ridgewell for his own goal.
The former Celtic midfielder is only too aware that games against arch rivals are the perfect occasion to win over the supporters.
He said: "The game was great and the atmosphere was very tense but all the fans at the end were really happy and were really great with me."
Talking about Villa's performance, which certainly wasn't their best, he said: "We started the game really poorly. We couldn't get a grip and they had one or two chances which could have given them a bit more confidence but after the first ten minutes we did well and we scored first.
"That gave us a bit more belief and confidence. In the second half I think it was the same as the first half in that we started really poorly.
"We knew we needed to work on that because teams will use that against us but it was great all our efforts paid off and it was a great goal for Gabby."
Petrov left the stadium after the game with a slight limp but insisted he had no lasting effects. He was delighted with his team and his own performance.
He continued: "It was an open game with a lot of chances and tackles. I do feel now I am getting back to my best.
"The manager Martin O'Neill brought me here to show what I can do. I know what I am capable of. I've been working hard and I'm really happy. I am now showing what I can do."
The 28 year-old insisted there was still more to come from him personally and Aston Villa as a collective.
He said: "There is more to come because I know what my limits are and I try to progress as much as I can.
"It perhaps helped me in the derby that I have played in big games before  game like Celtic and Rangers. I knew full well what was coming and it was really intense. The fans were really good and overall I don't think they have ever had a problem with me."
He added: "Overall I felt we deserved to win the game against Blues. The fans were incredible. That result will give them even more belief we can achieve something this season.
"It is important everyone is fit when we come back from the internationals because I think the manager prays everytime we go away that everyone comes back fit."
Petrov's Bulgaria can still qualify for the European Championships 2008 as they currently lie third in Group G on 19 points - behind leaders Romania and Holland.