JAY Bothroyd's late winner handed Harry Redknapp the perfect birthday present as QPR kept their survival hopes alive with victory at St Mary's.
The Rangers boss was given a flurry of abuse by the home fans on his return to his old club, but had the last laugh as the visitors clung on for a vital win in their battle against the drop.
Gaston Ramirez had cancelled out Loic Remy's earlier opener before Bothroyd struck the decisive blow after the break.
Redknapp made four changes from the side who lost to Manchester United last weekend, with Ji-sung Park, Junior Hoilett, Remy and Bothroyd handed starts.
Southampton dominated the opening stages, but it was Rangers who took the lead against the run of play on 14 minutes.
Hoilett played in Remy, and the French striker - making his first start since a groin injury- lashed the ball past Artur Boruc, despite the best efforts of Danny Fox on the line.
Rangers' lead looked comfortable until first-half stoppage-time.
Julio Cesar spilled Jay Rodriguez's long shot and Ramirez was on hand to slot home the rebound into the empty net.
Southampton started the second period on top, with Jose Fonte hitting the side netting, while Rodriguez fired one just over the bar.
Cesar – who had just been clattered into by Rodriguez – spilt another effort from the substitute, but this time captain Clint Hill was on hand to mop up.
The Brazilian was promptly substituted, clutching his right thigh as he left the pitch.
At the other end, Nathaniel Clyne did well to block Hoilett's goalbound effort on a rare breakaway for Rangers.
However, the visitors regained the lead on 77 minutes.
Park won a 50/50 with Maya Yoshida before delivering a low cross for Bothroyd to slam home from inside the six yard box.
The Saints piled forward in search of a late leveller, with Green diving full stretch to claw out Fonte's thumping header.
The Rs survived SIX minutes of added time to hold on for only their third win of the season to keep their survival hopes alive.
QPR: Cesar (Green 73), Bosingwa, Samba, Hill, Traore, Granero (Jenas 53), Mbia, Park, Hoilett, Remy, Bothroyd (Fabio 90).
Subs (not used): Onuoha, Townsend, Mackie, Taarabt.
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