Goalscoring hero Brian Gartland came up trumps once again in Turner’s Cross with a late winner - and he hopes the character Dundalk showed to find it will prove to be the mark of champions.
Having conceded just a minute before, Gartland pounced in a crowded penalty area to score his eighth goal of the season in all competitions and has been left sore that he did not push harder for a goal bonus at the start of the campaign.
“I argued over getting a goal bonus at the start of the season and didn’t get one but I’ve had other people telling me they are making good money off me!” he laughed.
“Two or three a season would have been my lot. I think the last time I scored this many was at U11 or U12 when I got 15 - but that was because the goals were big and the ‘keepers were small and I could kick it high!” he continued.
“To get the win is the main thing. We weren’t at our best in the second half and they came into it. We conceded a goal from a set piece which is unlike us but to show the character we did to get the winner is all that matters.
“This win shows that but how important it will be, we will know come the end of the season. We have gotten late goals more than a few times now and hopefully that will be the sign of champions.”
Gartland pointed to two things in particular which have helped put Dundalk in a commanding position at the top of the table and he insisted tiredness will not be an issue as the season enters the final third.
“Mental strength has been important, with Europe too,” he added.
“The gaffer has it drilled into us, we feel tiredness is a state of mind. Our fitness is top notch and that is down to the work of everyone, they have their scheduling of everything spot on,” he said.
“The other thing that is important too is the strength of our squad. We went to Split, made five changes and won and did the same on the Sunday so tiredness doesn’t come into it for us.
“A first XI does not win a league, a squad does.”