United overcame play-off chasing Rochdale at Glanford Park 2-1 on Saturday, to increase the gap between themselves and the relegation zone to four points.The Iron took the initiative by firing themselves ahead through Liam O’Neil in the second-half. Then, they won it through Paddy Madden after Dale’s Matty Done had levelled.
O’Neil was in many ways the star of the show, however, and gave his thoughts upon the game to The Iron Player shortly after the match.
Relaxed, and in a warm hospitality box overlooking the floodlit-yet-freezing Glanford Park pitch, the loaned WBA midfielder couldn’t help but wear a warm, Christmassy smile.
“It was a great performance from the boys,” he declared.
“We dug deep, and put in a lot of hard graft to get the three points.
“I’m happy to get a goal, but it could’ve been anyone and I’d still be happy.”
Despite that very selfless confession, we felt obliged to push the issue of the goal’s sentimental value a little further.
“It was my first goal in English senior football, and one I’ll always remember,” he admitted.
“I’ve kept the shirt”, he said with a sense of pride, before gesturing to the claret and blue bundle in his hand.
“It’s for my dad - Christmas has come a day late this year!”
Looking at the situation more generally, the smartly suited midfielder also alluded to the sense of optimism which is now infectiously overtaking the Iron’s dressing room.
“We’re going in week-in-week-out confident now,” he said.
“We believe in ourselves - I mean Rochdale are a play-off side!
“But we’re taking it game-by-game, and we can’t get carried away.”
In two days’ time, Scunthorpe will return to action with a game against Sheffield United.
And, judging by his tone of voice, it’s another clash that O’Neil is starting to get excited about.
“We go to Sheffield United now," he stated.
“We’ll be confident but not complacent, and it will be at Bramall Lane, which will be a new experience for me.”
See much more from Luke O'Neil, Paddy Madden and Mark Robins on The Iron Player.