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MacDonald | "It has been some turnaround from the lads"

Alex MacDonald praises Gills teammates for their efforts in securing League 2 safety.

21 April 2023

Gills midfielder addresses the media ahead of the club's journey to Bradford in League 2.

Alex MacDonald says the Gills deserve huge credit after securing their Football League status in spectacular fashion. The Kent side beat Sky Bet League Two runaway leaders Leyton Orient 2-0 in a remarkable fixture which had to be seen to be believed.

The Gills had previously looked doomed at Christmas but after an incredible run of results, including taking an impressive 28 points from 33 since January at Fortress Priestfield, the in-form team can now mathematically say they are definitely staying up!

MacDonald is confident that the achievement can be a catalyst for a successful campaign next season.

“We were six point adrift in January with a terrible goal difference,” admitted the midfielder, who netted the first on Tuesday evening. “It has been some turnaround from the lads. When you are in that situation you have to get yourself out of it and the lads deserve an enormous amount of credit. Not very often would I give a pat on the back for avoiding relegation for a club like Gillingham but given the circumstances and the situation I think it is well deserved.

“There was a boost, which was needed, when Brad and Shannon (Galinson) came in. They promised things and then they delivered and then it was down to us. Everyone has played their part and it is nice to be sat here now with a couple of weeks left of the season knowing that we can play with a little bit of freedom in the last couple of games and continue to add points to the tally.

“We need to take the momentum into the summer break and then into next season.”

And what a game it was to secure safety in too: a red card, penalty, a prolonged power cut, fans sitting in darkness for nearly half an hour and automatic promotion celebrations with the game chaotically paused. It was an encounter of many emotions and one which will be talked about for years and years to come.

“It was bizarre,” said MacDonald. “I have been involved in games where the floodlights have gone out but come on immediately after. When they were talking 10, 12, 15 minutes until the lights come back on, we had done so well to get us in the position we were in and we thought we might be let down by a power failure.

“The only question I was asking was what is the time that the cut off is where the result stands as it is, people were saying 75 minutes some were saying 80 minutes. I think we were on 78 minutes so we were unsure but we heard quite quickly that the lights were going to come back on.

“It was strange seeing Orient celebrating on the pitch and then kicking back off. They have worked hard all year, so good luck to them.

“It was a strange match, bizarre, and I have never been involved in anything like it. We congratulate them and send them on their way but we took three points off them and that was our main aim.

“Fingers crossed it will be us celebrating next year. I don’t think Gillingham will be in the league to make up the numbers next season. We want to compete at the very top of the division.”

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