Club captain Danny Grainger returned to the starting line up for the first time since the end of August at the weekend and he marked the occasion with a stunning winning strike which came after 93 minutes of exciting action at Brunton Park.
Initially playing down his part in the much-needed victory, he said: “I’m delighted that we’ve come away with the three points first and foremost. It was obviously nice to come back into the team and get a goal, but I thought the boys were quality today.
“I thought there were good performances right the way through the team, and we were well organised. It was probably an entertaining game to watch, but I think we shaded it in terms of the chances we created, and we deserved to win it in the end.
“We could have been out of sight at half time, but to come in just one goal ahead does make you think they’d have another go at us. That’s what they did, but we saw it through.”
Forcing him to discuss the quality of his second goal of the season, he told us: “Late goals can be so important. You talk about periods during games, the first five minutes, the five minutes either side of half time, and the five minutes at the end of the game, these spells are always vital.
“You tend to find that the good teams will get something in the last five minutes to either win them the game or rescue a point. The whole 90 minutes are important, but those little periods are the times where you really need to be switched on.”
“As soon as the ball came out to me I knew I was going to hit it,” he admitted. “I’m confident when I’m stepping up to strike a ball in those situations. I knew I needed to get my head over it and get it on target, then you just wait to see what happens. It was nice to see it rise up into the top corner.
“To be fair, I could tell it was a good one as soon as I’d hit it, so it was just whether or not they’d be able to get a block on it. It was nice to see it fly in, and there isn’t a feeling like it when you see it hit the back of the net.
“Even better was the feeling of being back out there again, because it does feel like it’s been a long time out for me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the treatment room and the gym with Dolly and Paddy [Maher] and I can’t thank them enough.
“They’ve pushed me through when I’ve been tired, and they’ve made sure I’ve come back in good condition. To be able to come back in and do a tough shift at left wing back for 90 minutes was really pleasing. It’s credit to Dolly and Paddy for keeping us as fit as we are. They push us when we need it, but they settle us down when we need that as well. They’re unsung heroes for that kind of thing, at times, so it’s good to be able to give them a thank you.
“When I first did my calf I didn’t envisage being out this long at all. I had the little reoccurrence which was probably my own fault, because I was too eager and I pushed myself a little bit too much. That’s why I would advise everybody to keep listening to Dolly. It shows that they do know best sometimes – just sometimes mind!
“I was frustrated to not get on the pitch last week, but I think I did need a full week of training, which I got. I felt sharp during the game, but when the ball hit the back of the net I did feel like lying on the floor for about 20 minutes!”
And on the frustration of missing so many games, he commented: “It’s hard when the team is losing and you aren’t involved. It’s easy when you’re sat up in the stand, as everyone who watches the game will tell you. You can see all the spaces and you wonder why certain things haven’t been done.
“It’s hard to come down and have your say on the game when you aren’t involved because you’re watching it in the stand without really knowing how things feel on the pitch. It isn’t about digging people out, because we’re in that dressing room as a group, and in the last five home games we just have to hold our hands up and say we weren’t good enough.
“I don’t think, even during this bad home run, there’s been a question of attitude or lack of desire from the group. Whether it was just luck, or a little bit of a lack of composure, it was nice to see the hard work from pay off. We’d had a tough week, but the rewards for it came in the game.”
With the win coming in such a dramatic fashion we wondered if the mood in the dressing room was any lighter come full time.
“We’ve got a good bunch of lads in the dressing room and we’ve been saying since the start of the season that it’s important that you don’t get too high when you win, or too low when you lose,” he said. “The home form has obviously been disappointing, because the fans have been right behind us for the majority of the games.
“The fans really stuck with us on Saturday, and even when it went to 2-2 they were still singing and trying to push us through. The lads wanted to bounce back and make sure we got the first thing out of the way, which was scoring a goal, and after that we just wanted to make sure we got the three points. We never gave up on that belief and it got us the result we all wanted in the end.”
We’ll have more from captain Danny Grainger on Wednesday morning when he talks about winning the Goal of the Weekend poll for an almost unprecedented second time and also takes a look ahead to the Emirates FA Cup action this weekend.
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