TONY Craig admitted the Millwall side “went through every single emotion possible” in their 4-3 win over Bristol Rovers on the final day of the League One season on Sunday.
Craig got his first goal of the season as the Lions went 2-0 and then 3-1 up before they threw away the lead, giving Southend the chance to finish sixth after their 1-0 win over Bury.
Despite a number of the players suffering from illness, they managed to rally after Rovers’ second-half dominance, and Shaun Hutchinson headed in Shane Ferguson’s 85th-minute corner to seal the win that took them back into the last play-off place.
“It was a rollercoaster of a day, we went through every single emotion possible,” Craig said. “When the fourth went in it was a great occasion and you could see by the celebrations what it meant to the boys.
“A few of the boys went down from a little bug [Saturday night]. You’ve got to prepare yourself and get on with it and the boys that came in did a fantastic job.
“There were a few boys struggling but we weren’t going to use that as an excuse. The gaffer has a great squad here and whenever people are needed and called upon they can do the job.
“A few of the boys were stuck in their rooms all night and didn’t have a pleasant night. Thankfully I wasn’t with any of the boys who were sick, so I had a good sleep!”
Millwall appeared to have blown their promotion chances after Rovers, aided by a strong breeze, piled on the pressure in the second half and made it 3-3 in the 74th minute through Billy Bodin’s free-kick.
"For me it was a weird moment,” Craig said. “We knew what was at stake, we knew we had to win.
“I was calm, and, to be honest, I think it made us play. We had a good few chances after that. It was a fantastic header, Hutch does that very well. He’s had a few cleared off the line and thankfully when it counted it went in.
“Shane Ferguson’s deliveries were second to none and have been all season.
“The wind was unbelievable, the second half we just couldn’t get out. Credit to Bristol Rovers, they are very, very good side with a great home record for the season. We knew that and certainly knew in the second half they were going to come at us.
“It just shows what a tremendous squad we have, we’re all in it together and it shows that we can dig in deep.
“We’ve got strength in depth and togetherness and I’m so pleased for the boys that came in, they gave a good account of themselves. We’re a squad on and off the pitch. We’ll enjoy this moment but we know what’s at stake on Thursday.”
Millwall face Scunthorpe at The Den in the first leg of that play-off semi-final, and Craig isn’t worried about having to travel to Glanford Park for the second leg the following Sunday.
“I don’t think it matters either way,” he said. “We know we’ll have a packed Den. They’re a very, very strong side and have some dangerous players.
“We’ll look at their strengths and weaknesses and will have a gameplan come Thursday.
“Whoever you get is going to be a great side. They’ve had a great season. We played them not so long ago and it’s got the ingredients to be a good two-legged tie.
“We just have to be prepared. We’re looking forward to it.”
Image: Millwall FC