On the two-year anniversary of Rovers’ promotion-clinching clash away to Doncaster, matchwinner Charlie Mulgrew has described it as an ‘unbelievable feeling’ and one of the great nights in his career!
The Scotland international headed home the winner from a Bradley Dack corner 10 minutes from time, to spark jubilant scenes in the away end at the Keepmoat Stadium.
It was the culmination of 12 months of hard work, insists Mulgrew, as Rovers made an immediate return to the Championship.
“It was unbelievable,” said the 34-year-old defender. “It was a great night for everybody involved with the club.
“It was getting a bit tense, the last few games, knowing that we needed to get results to get over the line.
“The game was 0-0 for a long time and then I managed to shoulder one in in the 80th minute! It was an unbelievable night. You saw the support we had there. It’s one of the great nights I’ve had in my career.
“It was a great feeling and when the goal went in, I remember thinking if we could keep a clean sheet then we’d be promoted and we did that. I don’t remember Doncaster having many chances after that and we held on and won the game and the feeling after was unbelievable.
“From the day (at Brentford) that we had gone down, the focus was quickly turned to we need to get back up and there was a lot of stress and work went into that.
“We had a couple of defeats to start the season and there were times when I thought ‘will this happen?’ and then we did, we got it right, and it was an unbelievable feeling.”
It seemed fitting that the club captain, who had led the team by example in League One that season and contributed an incredible 14 league goals to the cause, should net the dramatic late winner which would seal promotion.
And Mulgrew agrees that perhaps his match-winning moment was written in the stars.
“You don’t think about it at the time, but when you think about it now, it’s a good point,” he added.
“I had a good season that year, I scored a few goals and as a team we got it right. After a few games into the season, we realised what League One was all about and we sorted the way we were playing.
“There was ups and downs over the season. Oldham away was a big, big down. I’ll never forget that. Sitting in the dressing room, the manager basically asked ‘where are we going with our careers here, what are we thinking?’
“In my mind, that was a big changing point, because we needed to get it sorted, which we did and then to go up in that manner, to score in the last 10 minutes and then hang on, the feeling was unbelievable.
“And then the crowd coming on the pitch when we went back out, they were unbelievable that night. I remember seeing them inside the stadium and they filled the whole back end of the goal and it was just all meant to be.
“It’s a feeling you can’t really describe, but it’s one I’ll always look back on as one of the great nights in my career.”
For a player who has captained his country and defeated Barcelona in the Champions League, it shows just what Rovers' achievement that season means to Mulgrew, for it to rank right up there in his catalogue of career highlights!
“I’ve obviously had some great nights with Celtic and some great nights with Scotland, but that was another great night,” he added. “It was just the whole build up of a year of wanting to do well.
“When you go down into League One, there’s no God given right that you’re going to win games and get promoted.
“It’s a tough league. Sheffield United showed when they went down, it took them a while to come back up. So we knew it wasn’t a given. We knew the pressure was on and we knew what we wanted to do.
“So it was an unbelievable feeling and it just all came to a head that night, scoring in the last 10 minutes and then holding on to get promoted. It was just a great feeling, because Shrewsbury that season just wouldn’t go away.
“They just kept winning 1-0. It wasn’t as if we were clear at Christmas and there was only two teams that were going to do it, it was that fear of Shrewsbury, every time you looked for their result they just kept winning, but finally we got over the line.
“They hit a bit of a sticky patch and we kept steamrolling on, so it was a great night and one that I’m looking forward to watching back tonight.”
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