AIDEN O’Brien said he visualised scoring Millwall’s winning goal against Bury last weekend.
O’Brien came off the bench at Gigg Lane with Millwall trailing to James Vaughan’s goal and they went two down when the Shakers striker added another with just over 20 minutes left.
But Shaun Williams gave Millwall hope when he scored from the spot after Niall Maher had been red-carded for handball on the line under pressure from O’Brien who was trying to reach Fred Onyedinma's dinked ball over goalkeeper Ben Williams.
Calum Butcher levelled with four minutes left before Byron Webster dummied Onyedinma’s cross and O’Brien steered home a dramatic winner in the 92nd minute.
“I always believe when I’m on the bench – no matter how long is left, whatever the score – I always believe in myself,” O’Brien said.
“The night before I always dream of an image of me scoring the winner. I do that all the time, it’s not just a one-off thing. I was prepared that I was going to score the winner.
“I don’t think you can teach that, you either know where the ball is going to drop or you don’t. It’s all about timing. That ball could have been two seconds delayed, I could have made that run and that goal wouldn’t have happened. But the ball got put in, I was there right behind Webbie at the right moment and executed it as well.
“(Friday) I just kept picturing scoring the winner. Dave Livermore said to me, ‘it’s your time to come on tomorrow, you’re on the bench, don’t take it personally, it’s just a change’. He told me to keep picturing scoring the winner overnight and there you have it.
“When I played for my dad’s team he always used to say to me, ‘you’re the magician, no one’s going to stop you’. From when I was young I always told myself I was the magician and going to score goals. It’s always stuck with me, my dad kind of drilled it into my head.”
O’Brien’s late strike was his eighth goal in all competitions this season. He is on course to better his tally of 13 in 2015-16 as he emphasised the importance of goal threats coming from all areas of the pitch in the absence of Steve Morison and Lee Gregory.
He said: “I got 10 by January, the last game (in 2015) against Southend. I’m well on the way now, I’ve got a full month left and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get 10 before January.
“We’ve all got to chip in. We all know Morison and Gregory are key and vital players for this Millwall side. But I think we’re holding our own, we showed great belief coming back from two-nil down, though I don’t think they should have had two goals.
“They were basically in their goal net in the first half but we just couldn’t get a goal. But that’s football, they got two good goals through Vaughan and fair play. We showed good belief and the players that stood in for Morison and Gregory were superb. We’ve all got to chip in with goals, whether it’s midfield, defence or up front. We’ve got to stick together and start adding to the tally a bit more.
“As a striker you see that many balls going into the box and you think please just let me go because I will put one of them in. In the second half it happened, I couldn’t have asked for much better.”
The result at the weekend was the first time Millwall have come back from two goals down to win a game in Neil Harris’s time in charge.
And O’Brien believes the Lions are showing their fighting qualities as they won for the eighth time in the last 11 games.
“I thought that with the two goals going in it’s one of those games. You’ve got more possession, more crosses going in, more shots and they go down and score out of nowhere,” O’Brien said.
“But you’ve always got to believe as a football team. You could be three-nil, four-nil down, you don’t chuck the towel in no matter what the situation is. Until the 90 minutes is done you can’t chuck the towel in because you’ll be called a quitter. And none of us in this team are quitters, we all fight to the end.
“Especially with our fans, they won’t let us throw the towel in even if anyone did want to do it. The fans, the manager, the players, at the moment everyone is solid and we’re on a good run.”
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