Yesterday, McDermott stood in the dugout for the first game in his second spell as Royals boss and his team earned him exactly the same result against Blackburn Rovers – thanks to a stunning winner from Danny Williams that Long himself would have been very proud of.
“The goal that won it is out of the top drawer. I can’t wait to see it again!” Brian said in his post-match press. “It’s a fantastic goal.
“We were talking about Danny making runs, not too many but now and then picking the right run. And when you time it right and smash it in the top corner like that – that is an incredible goal.”
But McDermott’s ethos is centred around the importance of the group as a whole and he was keen to stress the contributions of every player who ground out a valuable three points this afternoon.
“Stephen Quinn hasn’t played for three months and he’s played in a position which on paper is alien to him – but he was outstanding. I asked him to do it and in his words he said ‘I’ll give it a go’…and I knew I didn’t have any worries about him playing there.
“Hal, Nick, Garath they all worked their socks off, especially in the wide positions. When we needed to see the game out at the end, we saw it through well. And then Bondy’s made a great save right at the end, a match-winning save.
“They got a little bit too much of the ball in the first half and we had to change things at half time, putting Lucas Piazon on so we had more of a foothold in the game. Then I know Ola, he’s a talent, a real talent and some of the stuff he does is top drawer.
“I spoke to the group and we said about how it’s not about the individual, it’s never about the individual. It’s all about the team, the group.
“We need everybody, all the staff, the players, the fans really got behind the boys today. You need to do whatever you have to do to get a result and that means everybody.
“They’re good players and nice lads. Let’s see who can come out of the pack, let’s get the shape of the team right, let’s see what we can do to get some of the right results. The group is the only thing that matters. Everyone’s going to be needed over the games that remain.
“So let’s just go out, do the best we possibly can, see where we end up, game to game. If the fans see you giving it your best, you can’t ask for any more than that.”
And the fans certainly responded positively to McDermott’s return, singing his name from the start. “It was a lovely welcome,” he said.
“It was a nice reception, as soon as parked my car outside there were lots of people giving me a lovely welcome. Someone even gave me some chocolate in the car park before the game!
“It felt like a homecoming, it felt special. I didn’t want to build it up too much, I needed to focus myself and concentrate on what we had to do – getting a result was the most important thing today and we’ve done that so we can be happy!
“But it was a really nice welcome actually and I really appreciated it. It feels right to be here.”