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Gartland - yes we can


Graham Gartland, Shelbourne. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Graham Gartland, Shelbourne. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Graham Gartland, Shelbourne. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

VETERAN Defender Graham Gartland is more used to winning league titles than scrapping in relegation battles, but the former Longford Town man insists that his Shelbourne side will win their fight to avoid the drop.

Shels picked up only their second win of the season when they beat Bohemians 3-0 at Dalymount Park on Friday night.

The win wasn't enough to take the Reds off the bottom of the table as they remain five points behind Bohs and UCD, but the manner of their victory has lifted confidence at Tolka Park.

"The table doesn't lie and we are still bottom but I firmly believe that we will stay up," said Gartland, who joined Shels at the start of the season from Shamrock Rovers.

"The win over Bohs on Friday was massive for us and while the mid-season break now has come at the wrong time for us, I feel we can build on this and start moving up the table.

"It's a different mindset, being at the bottom of the table. This is the first time in my career that I have been at the very bottom in the league," added Gartland, who won seven medals in his time at Longford and Drogheda.

"Before Friday's match against Bohs everyone was saying that it was a big game in terms of the relegation battle. I am used to having big games where you are trying to win leagues, win cup semi-finals, and it is strange that Bohs-Shels is a relegation dogfight.

"I'm not being critical of the previous manager but everyone in the team knows their job a bit more now, and they are doing their job. We have a structure and are working harder, making it difficult for teams.

"People will think that the win over Bohs was out of the blue but it had been coming. We had a very good performance in the previous game, against Derry City. We lost but played well and deserved something from that.



"We had chances against Derry and didn't convert them but we took our chances against Bohs and that's given a real boost to confidence.

"Everything has been building towards this result but we have to make sure it's not a flash in the pan, we have to win more games now.

"We have been letting in a lot of goals but there was pressure on the back four as the team were not scoring. Once we got the first goal against Bohs the pressure eased on the defence and that allowed us get a grip on the game," added the 29-year-old.

The defender also believes Shels have cleaned up their act. In the first half of the season Shels had a dismal disciplinary record, the tone set with three red cards in pre-season and a flurry of reds and yellows after that.

"We have gone four games without a sending off and we had only one player booked against Bohs on Friday, so that's a big help," Gartland added.