Harsh words reap rewards for Orient

THE recent weather-enforced winter break was met with derision by most football fans, but O s striker Scott McGleish believes it may have saved their season, writes IAIN LIDDLE. The loss at home to Southend on Monday, December 28 was the Brisbane Road cl

THE recent weather-enforced winter break was met with derision by most football fans, but O's striker Scott McGleish believes it may have saved their season, writes IAIN LIDDLE.

The loss at home to Southend on Monday, December 28 was the Brisbane Road club's fifth league game in a row without victory and left them languishing in the fourth and final relegation spot in League One.

While supporters begrudged the onset of snow and icy conditions robbing them off their weekly football fix, the Orient players put their spare time to more productive use.

With more than half of the league schedule already completed, the squad assessed their predicament by calling an emergency team meeting to find the root of the problem, and came up with some blunt conclusions.


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"We sat down and we looked at it," said 35-year-old McGleish.

"We were frankly honest with each other and said 'The school report is, half-term, not good enough and we've got to do better'."

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A 2-0 home defeat of Yeovil Town followed in their first game of this year, before the O's upset the odds to defeat Charlton at The Valley on Monday evening.

McGleish revealed nobody was spared from criticism during the fiery talks and believes the results of it are clear for everyone to see.

"Everything really," said the striker about which area of the team provoked most debate.

"Clean sheets, more goals, but mostly the attitude.

"When we do go in front we can't keep sitting back and, the Charlton game proved that we have taken that on board. We didn't sit back, we went forward.

"A lot of times at the start of the season when we went in front, like against Southend and against Charlton at home, we sat back a bit.

"That's not just the defence, that's everyone. The forwards have got to push on, the midfield have got to look forward and the defence have got to push us forward.

"In the last two games I think that's what you can see we've been doing. We've been looking to step on, keep going forward and hopefully turn one-nils into two-nils, into three-nils."

With a long trip to Carlisle on Saturday, McGleish insists the belief is flowing through the side, who are now looking to extend their 100 per cent record in 2010.

"We shouldn't be lacking in confidence after two victories," he said.

"After winning 2-0 at home and then to come here and be the first team to beat Charlton at home, we should be brimming with confidence.

"We know there's goals there and if we can create them then we will score, but what is pleasing is the two clean sheets more than anything."

The frontman scored the game's only goal on Monday, the 188th of his career, on his first trip to the Valley since being sold by then boss Alan Curbishley in 1995, from where he moved to Barnet, Colchester and Northampton, amongst other clubs.

While admitting to having mixed emotions before his return, McGleish said nothing could take the shine off edging closer to his ambition of netting 200 league goals.

"I know exactly how many to go, 12 more in the league but I think I'll get there," he laughed.

"When I left they went on to bigger and better things at the time, which was great for the club. It's a shame to see where they are now because I do hold fond memories of the club, it's where I started my career.

"But to come back and actually score the goal felt great.

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