Sean McLoughlin felt it was important Hull City ended the season with a strong performance against Nottingham Forest.
The Tigers were much improved from the 5-0 defeat to Bristol City but looked set for defeat when Brennan Johnson’s disputed penalty gave play-off bound Forest a 93rd-minute lead.
But Lewie Coyle saved the day as his curling cross went all the way in and salvaged a point in the most dramatic of circumstances, sparking delirium on the pitch and in the stands.
“It was important after the game against Bristol City, playing at home, playing in front of the fans, last game of the season, that we were able to put in a good performance, and I thought we did for the majority of the game,” said McLoughlin.
“There was a bit of luck at the end to get the equaliser but it was great to give the fans something to cheer about.
“First half, we were probably sussing each other out. Second half, Keane (Lewis-Potter) goes through and we could have gone 1-0 up there.
“A draw was probably a fair result – it would have been harsh if we had lost the game.
“We matched them. They’re a really good side. They might have been playing a couple of their subs but they’re still a brilliant side and 1-1 is a good result against them.”
The Tigers ended the season in 19th place – 14 points clear of the relegation zone – and McLoughlin says survival was always the main aim.
“It’s a massive achievement,” said the 25-year-old.
“We got promoted and had a brilliant season last year and the important thing was to stay comfortably in the division, which we did – 16 points clear going into the final day.
“It gives us a platform now to build on for next year.”
The Irish centre-back started the Tigers’ final 30 matches having been out of favour at the beginning of the campaign.
And the former St Mirren loanee believes he is a more well-rounded defender now than he was back in August.
“I’ve learned a lot,” McLoughlin added. “I started the season not in the team, then I got into the side and I thought, ‘as long as I keep putting in the performances each week, see how many games I can play until the end of the season’.
“Fortunately, I’ve stayed in the team and it’s credit to the lads around me because they’ve made me a better player. As a team, we can only look back on the season as a good one.”