Head of Football Operations Brian Gartland was pleased with Dundalk’s response in their 0-0 draw with St Patrick’s Athletic at Oriel Park on Friday night.

Dundalk collected their fourth point of the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division season, and their third successive clean-sheet on the Carrick Road, with their best home performance of the year.

The Lilywhites were unlucky not to lead early in the second half after putting the visitors under strong pressure and, while admitting that St Pat’s could also have won it on the break, Gartland was “delighted” with the positivity that his team showed.

The former Lilywhites captain was in the dugout alongside first-team coach Liam Burns, after head coach Stephen O’Donnell was relieved of his duties last Monday. And, while now winless in their opening nine games, Gartland said there were “a lot of positives” to take into a busy week ahead, which starts with a trip to Dalymount Park to face Bohemians on Monday night.

“We’re delighted with the commitment, the effort we got, the positivity out of the team,” Gartland said afterwards.

“As I said before the game, if they give the positivity, we’ll get it back from the crowd and I felt we did tonight. We felt a bit of a difference. That is what this town wants out of a team. They’ve been told but they’ve given it to us tonight.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the win. I’d say we dominated the second half anyway. We played it in their half, it’s just in that final third we lacked a little bit of composure, a little bit of quality. We got into lots of opportunities but we didn’t work their ‘keeper enough. That’s something for us to work on.

“Again, there were a couple of counterattacks where they could nick the win and that’s where we need to tighten up. That’s what has cost us over the season at times. We can’t fault the lads’ commitment and they’ve been a great bunch all week.”

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Asked if the coaching team tried to do much differently to O’Donnell, Gartland added: “We only had a couple of days. You can’t reinvent the wheel. We just asked for that honesty, that positivity and that work rate.

“We wanted to keep it basic but when the game opens up, we need to have that little bit more quality and composure to spot the pass in between the lines. And then when you’re in the few good moments we got in, in the final third and going into their box or at the side of their box, you just need to make it count.

“There’s a good squad here, it’s a big squad. Nobody is putting their hand forward and saying, ‘I can’t be dropped’, you have to give other people an opportunity, and that’s what Stephen was doing because that’s just football. If someone is not at it, you have to put someone else in.

“That’s the nature of the competition of it, or else you stick with 11 and if it’s not working then you just keep doing the same thing over and over. That’s the difficulty of football. If it was easy, everyone would do it and everyone would be winning.

“You don’t reinvent the wheel tactically or anything. Stephen and Patrick (Cregg) are way ahead of me tactically, in terms of their knowledge of football, in-depth in the coaching.

“We don’t try to change too much. We asked the lads for the basics and asked them to give it their all, give it everything, and more forward runs. We think run forward and pass forward, and I think that got us into better opportunities.”

Dundalk now have another quick turnaround with a trip to Dalymount Park on Monday where they face a Bohemians side fresh from beating league leaders Shelbourne, which lifted them into the top half.

“It’s something to build on,” Gartland said of the draw as he looked forward. “You can take a lot of positives from it and that’s what we want the boys to do – always be thinking of taking positives.”