COMEBACK kid Keith Treacy raised a glass to a New Year with a stunning goal to help sink former club Sheffield Wednesday.
The Clarets winger saw out last season on loan at Hillsborough after being deemed surplus to requirements at Turf Moor.
But having been thrown a lifeline by new boss Sean Dyche, the Irish wide man repaid that faith - and gave Wednesday fans a further glimpse of his undoubted talent - with a stunning 64th minute drive to reward the Clarets’ dominance.
In the absence of top scorer Charlie Austin, Ross Wallace then took on penalty taking duties 13 minutes later to kick-start 2013 in fine style for the Clarets, who hauled themselves to within four points of the play-off pack.
Austin’s absence meant a first league start since August for Sam Vokes and one other change saw anchor man Brian Stock return to starting duty in place of the injured Dean Marney.
And the visitors started brightly, with Paterson firing at Kirkland, Vokes seeing his shot deflected over the bar and then, in the 13th minute, Trippier letting fly with a 30-yard screamer that cannoned back off the crossbar with the keeper a bystander.
Wednesday, with three wins and a draw in their last four games, had been chasing shadows in the opening 20 minutes.
But they created their first opening when Michail Antonio hung a cross to the far post for Kieran Lee, whose downward header was gloved round the post by Grant.
However, the Clarets’ continued to dominate and in the 25th minute a well-worked free kick carved open another opportunity.
Wallace’s deep dead ball found Ings in the area and his cushioned header to Shackell was volleyed over the bar by the unmarked skipper.
If that was a good chance, a better one immediately followed. Kieran Trippier delivered one of his trademark outswinging crosses from the right and Vokes, who timed his run behind the defence perfectly, somehow missed his connection from point-blank range with just Kirkland to beat.
Burnley were forced into a change four minutes before the break when Paterson, following a knock, was replaced by Treacy.
But the change failed to knock the confident Clarets out of their stride as the half time break – and when Vokes’ cushioned a pass into the path of McCann, the midfielder was denied by Kirkland’s instinctive block.
Straight from the restart, however, it was the Clarets defence making last ditch efforts to keep the scores level.
A searing run and cut-back by Antonio found Lee, whose effort was blocked by Lafferty before Trippier threw himself into the way of Antonio’s follow-up shot.
Wednesday began the second half looking livelier, but Wallace almost silenced the 23,000-plus crowd on the hour with a 30-yard snapshot that Kirkland did well to turn around the post at full stretch.
But minutes later, Kirkland was rooted to the spot as Treacy arrowed an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner in front of the travelling fans.
Wallace forced Kirkland into yet another save as he went for the bottom corner 60 seconds later and with the Owls sleeping at the back.
And in the 76th minute, Burnley sealed a fully deserved victory.
Treacy’s cross was handled by Lewis Buxton and Wallace made no mistake, smashing his spot kick straight down the middle of goal for his second goal in three games.
And in the dying seconds there was almost a dream finish to cap Treacy’s rehabilitation when the Republic of Ireland winger raced onto sub Marvin Bartley’s pass and hammered a shot off the inside of the post.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Lafferty, Duff, Shackell, Stock (Bartley 90s), McCann, Wallace, Vokes, Paterson (Treacy 41), Ings. Subs: Edgar, O’Neill, Stewart, Long, Jensen.
Booked: Lafferty 5
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Gardner, Llera, Mattock, McCabe, Helan, Prutton (Johnson 73), Sidibe (O’Grady 59), Lee, Antonio. Subs: Taylor, Corry, Madine, Jones, Bywater.
Referee: David Webb.