Daniel Johnson just had to be the match winner for Preston North End against Derby County after the fevered speculation over Rangers’ interest.

DJ is Preston North End’s man on the spot
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The script was written the moment he climbed off the bench with PNE trailing 1-0 and looking to turn their pressure into goals.

No better man to have on the pitch when having made it 1-1 through Tom Barkhuizen’s rocket, North End were given a penalty.

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Johnson hasn’t missed from the spot during the course of a game – his one blot on the penalty copybook was in a shoot-out against Bournemouth in 2015.

Daniel Johnson was on the spot on TuesdayDaniel Johnson was on the spot on Tuesday
Daniel Johnson was on the spot on Tuesday

For completeness, he had scored a penalty two minutes from the end of extra-time to send the game to penalties.

That 118th minute effort was the first spot kick DJ took in a PNE shirt.

He’s now put 14 into the back of the net in competitive action with him very much the penalty king.

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Tuesday night’s effort drew him level with Callum Davidson in the all-time penalty stakes at North End.

Graham Alexander is way in front at the top of the pile with 52 penalties.

Sir Tom Finney is next with 39, then George Harrison on 38, with Jim Baxter and Harry Wilcox both on 15.

Hopefully Johnson stays around at Deepdale to have a go at drawing level with Baxter and Wilcox and then pushing on to better their tally.

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While the odds were in favour of DJ scoring from the spot, they were against PNE heading into the Derby game.

They headed to Pride Park having failed to win their 14 previous matches against the Rams. Not since Boxing Day 2008 had Preston beaten them.

So it was a boost to put that record to bed.