"This is really the next step in our progression" - Dundalk hero David McMillan chats about Champions League success

McMillan scored twice during their victory over BATE Borisov last night

BY Cian Roche 14:37 Wednesday 3 August 2016, 14:37 3 Aug 2016

Image: ©INPHO/Ciaran Culligan

Dundalk hero David McMillan says he isn't phased by who his side face in the next round of the Champions League qualifiers, after his two goals put them within touching distance of the competition's group stages.

Dundalk overcame BATE Borisov last night to win 3-1 on aggregate and McMillan said that with the confidence the club have at the moment, they will fancy their chances against anyone.

"Celtic could be a strange one when they've a lot of support here in Ireland so, it could be like having two away games. We'll take anybody at this stage," he told The Pat Kenny Show. "You can't predict any of these draws so whoever we get I think we'll fancy our chances and we'll give it a right go."

McMillan said that the support was one of the reasons why they got over the line last night and hopes to see more over the coming weeks in the League of Ireland.

"Celtic played Barcelona at the Aviva Stadium last weekend and there was 45,000 supporters there out to watch them, so there is Irish football supporters and we'd like to see them on a week-in week-out basis. I think we showed last night that there's enough quality in the league to be enjoyed. We'd love to see as many people as we can out for our own league as well as for European ties.

"[Last night] we had fantastic travelling support. The club organised buses quite cheaply and it got a lot of people down to the ground. There must have been nearly 5,000 at it there yesterday so the support was incredible. I'm glad the club and everyone involved with Dundalk could see us get through. 

"Whoever we draw now I think we can be optimistic that we can produce another similar performance in two weeks time. Look, it'll be a huge challenge whoever it is. Clubs the like of Celtic and some massive European clubs [will be] in the draw. We've nothing to lose really. We've secured the Europa League at the least so we can at least aim high."

The result came as a shock to many and the nature of which they won will have inspired those in the league to shoot for European glory.

"We were absolutely delighted to come away and win the game 3-0, I think it was beyond anybody's expectations. Obviously we knew we had to score and we really needed to keep a clean sheet because we didn't score an away goal in Belarus. To go and win was a dream come true.

"They've a fantastic pedigree in Europe, they've been in the group stages for five of the last seven or eight years. We knew we were up against it and of course we played them in the Champions League qualifiers last year and lost 2-1 on aggregate.

"We were pretty determined that it didn't happen again. Coming away after losing the game 1-0 in Belarus, we had a lot of work to do. But I think we showed last night that we have an incredible team and that we were able to turn it around.

"Obviously we'd have preferred to play in Dundalk with the fans being able to get there easily but the stadium isn't up to scratch at the moment. We were able to play on a grass pitch and I think in the end that worked out well for us.

"This has been the culmination of three or four years of hard work in Dundalk. The club has been at rock bottom and Stephen Kenny has come in and he's done a tremendous job. We've won back-to-back league titles and we won the double last year. This is really the next step in our progression and it's something that we've worked really hard for."

As for the celebrations, Dundalk will get the heads down again as they prepare for a league game on Friday and will be closely monitoring the draw that afternoon.

"We've another league game now on Friday in Galway so it'll be a very, very quick turnaround. We have to stay focused and do a cool-down later on today, we'll train Thursday and then travel to Galway on Friday.

"The title is part-time, but anyone involved in the club is doing full-time hours. Everybody works so hard behind the scenes. The lads are in the gym everyday making sure they're in the best shape they can be in. I think it's great that the money is there but I think the club has set up good foundations in the last couple of years, hopefully that will continue into the future."


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