IT may not have been quite the scoreline that he was seeking on Tuesday evening, but Hull City defender Angus MacDonald would have been forgiven for expressing a sigh of relief at the final whistle against former side Barnsley.
The points were shared in an all-White Rose survival joust between Championship rivals at a freezing KCOM Stadium when both sides emerged with honours intact after a 1-1 draw.
It left MacDonald able to finally move on in many ways following his deadline-day move from Oakwell, which was not without friction.
Tuesday’s match programme included a feature with the former Reds captain, who put the record straight on his supposed absence from former Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom’s plans during a difficult final few months in South Yorkshire.
Heckingbottom cited an iron deficiency as the reason for him not being in the squad, but MacDonald clearly begged to differ.
He stated that he had always suffered from a pre-existing ailment known as Celiac disease –where a gluten intolerance can result in low iron levels – although further tests during his medical at Hull revealed those levels to be ‘sky-high’, in his words.
It may have left a slightly sour taste for the defender following his move across Yorkshire, but he admits that he would like nothing better than for both Hull and the Reds to be hailing survival at the season’s conclusion in early May.
MacDonald, who went close to scoring in the second-half on Tuesday, said: “They gave me a chance to forward my career and a chance to play in the Championship and I hope they do stay up.
“I don’t think it more upset me; I just think it was more of a case that the fans needed to be told. On social media, you read everything, don’t you? They (fans) can get annoyed or take it whichever way they want, but, ideally, I am now playing football.
“You fully look at the fixtures and know that Barnsley is coming up. You have to put it at the back of your mind and do a job, at the end of the day.
Ideally, you probably don’t want to play against your former team so soon with fans getting on your back and everything. But you have to put everything out of your head and go again.Angus MacDonald
“Ideally, you probably don’t want to play against your former team so soon with fans getting on your back and everything. But you have to put everything out of your head and go again.”
The move east has worked out well for MacDonald, an ever-present in the league since arriving a month ago.
While results have not been wholly consistent yet, his partnership at the back with Michael Dawson is starting to look a steady and dependable one at Championship level, certainly at the KCOM Stadium.
Dawson made an impact at the other end of the pitch on Tuesday with the former England international’s third goal of the season 18 minutes from time cancelling out Oli McBurnie’s first-half opener to help extend Hull’s unbeaten home sequence to eight games.
MacDonald admits he is learning plenty from the vastly-experienced central defender, while also drawing upon the positives on a night when the Tigers underlined their stubborn refusal to relinquish their run without defeat on home soil.
MacDonald said: “Obviously, for anyone who can play alongside him, you are in a good partnership in there with Dawse.
“He is massive on and off the pitch and a great leader and captain and it is a great experience to play next to him, really. If you are struggling in a game, he will help you out. He is definitely one of the best players I have played with.”
On the midweek draw, he continued: “You obviously have to take everything that you can get at the moment. Three points would have been nice and given us a real stepping-stone to push on. But you have got to take anything and a point is a point.
“They did not have too many opportunities if any in the second half and if we had taken a couple more of our chances, it could have been a different story.”
Barnsley head coach Jose Morais professed to being satisfied with a point on a night when his side seemed to be affected by the loss of Adam Jackson just before half-time.
The defender was stretchered off following a worrying 11-minute delay after being briefly knocked unconscious after falling heavily following an aerial challenge with Jon Toral.
Thankfully, Jackson is now on the mend, although it is unlikely that he will feature in Saturday’s weekend home game with Norwich City.
On the draw, which took the Reds’ tally to four points from successive away matches at relegation rivals, Morais said: “I would have been delighted to have won the three points, which was the intention. But I am happy with the performance of the players and the attitude.
“We are showing strength and that we are really committed. That group of players are committed to doing something that people, some weeks ago, didn’t believe.”