He may have scored a goal against Athlone Town on Sunday night but Dundalk centre-back Brian Gartland was disappointed not to have had a brace after seeing another ruled out for offside.
Gartland’s 31st minute header put Dundalk 2-0 ahead and ten minutes later he rose again to power home a Darren Meenan free-kick. The former Portadown man was wheeling away in celebration only to have it quashed by a questionable flag.
“It was me who the referee said was offside,” he told The Dundalk Democrat afterwards.
“I can’t see behind me so I don’t know if he was right. That header was better than the first one so I’m disappointed he disallowed it.
“The same happened in Cork on my full debut last year,” he added. “I scored one and had another one disallowed for a foul on their goalkeeper when he fell over. It’s something that seems to happen to me.”
The disallowed goal would have taken Gartland’s tally to eight for the season. But, with thoughts now turning to Dundalk’s Europa League second leg tie with Hajduk Split in Croatia, the 24-year-old said he would settle for number eight coming at the Stadion Poljud this Thursday.
“That would be lovely,” he agreed. “It’s a big tie but what we want to do is get the first goal. It doesn’t matter who it is, and if it’s early or late. If we do that, it’s game on.”
Hajduk go into the game as red hot favourites to complete the job after the 2-0 win at Oriel Park last week.
Gartland, though, believes Dundalk showed enough in the first leg to suggest they can pull off what many see as mission impossible.
“We’re going over there to get a positive result,” he said.
“The big thing is not to be afraid. We had great chances in the first game. They were clinical with theirs and we can’t afford to give them chances like that again but we have smashing players going forward. Our whole front six are well capable of creating and taking chances.”
When asked what the Dundalk players had taken out of Thursday’s defeat, Gartland answered: “That small errors will cost you.
“We took the game to them and went at them but that counts for nothing. The scoreline is where it counts. The fine margins can cost you against bigger teams.”