Sixteen points may separate Glenavon from Saturday’s opponents Crusaders but captain James Singleton counts the numbers as a false tale of the tape following the 2-2 draw.
Singleton was part of a reshuffled Glenavon backline that featured a goalkeeper and defence short of minutes, either in the Premiership or in position.
Despite the disappointment of conceding to Paul McElroy’s goal in the closing moments, Singleton feels the performance of steel and skill points towards a positive future for a Glenavon side sitting 10th on 11 points from as many Danske Bank Premiership appearances.
Jamie McGonigle fired Crusaders into control minutes before half-time with a smart strike from a tight angle. Jordan Jenkins’ composed finish left it level before substitute Stephen Murray fired Glenavon into the lead in front of the vocal home support - only for McElroy to have the final say.
Glenavon now face a string of sides enjoying strong campaigns in Cliftonville, Coleraine, Glentoran and Linfield across the next four fixtures.
It is a challenge Singleton is relishing following the spirit on show on Saturday night.
“They are tough games of course but we must embrace the test,” said Singleton. “We’ve a squad of players that finished third over each of the past two league seasons and is not used to losing games of football.
“We must keep on fighting and you could see on Saturday how the crowd really got behind us and responded to a team on the pitch putting everything into it despite players out of position, having to learn new roles or short of Premiership experience.
“We went in at half-time a goal down but no-one let the heads drop in the dressing room and now it is about using the positives from that performance to spur us forward.
“We’ve had some bad results this season but I look back over Saturday’s display and even in the league defeat of Warrenpoint Town previously and think there’s plenty to build on.
“We’ve players capable of competing and we want to keep on fighting for each other and to get the club up the table.
“We may not have the biggest squad around but there is a great team spirit.”
Glenavon stepped out at Mourneview Park three days after suffering a midweek League Cup exit to second-tier Newry City AFC. Singleton is putting his faith in full focus for future gains.
“I do put it down to a mental situation and we’ve gone out of cups to lower sides too often over the past number of years,” said Singleton. “But the boss set down a challenge to produce a reaction and we did on Saturday.
“Some will say it’s easy to get up for the Crusaders games compared to Newry but we have to get the mental aspect right going into every test.
“We had so many strong individual performances on Saturday - for example, James Taylor did not get enough credit for his wonderful save in the second half - but the performance shows what we can do as a team.”
GLENAVON: Taylor, Larmour, Burns, Marshall, Hall (O’Mahony, 91), Harmon, Hamilton (McCloskey, 70), Beggs, Singleton, Garrett, Jenkins (Murray, 82).
Subs: Matthews, Barr, Hunter, Neill.
CRUSADERS: Doherty, Burns, Beverland, Coates, McGonigle, Hale (McElroy, 79), Ruddy, J.Owens, Thompson (Caddell, 63), Heatley (Lowry, 63), Clarke.
Subs: O’Neill, O’Rourke, K.Owens, McGinley.
Referee: Shane Andrews.