Jordan Gibson was in the mood for talking. Not just about the goal that floored his former club, but the hard times that shaped Carlisle United’s new star. 

If there was relish in Gibson’s celebrations after scoring superbly against Bradford City, it was because he had been booed by fans of a club where he did not feel he got a fair crack.

Gibson says he meant no offence to the supporters themselves, but as he spoke about his journey to brighter things with Carlisle, one could understand certain sentiments as he gave a bit back.

“I felt like I got treated fairly badly there," he said. "The celebration was nothing against the fans. I had some good moments and I made my professional debut there, but I went through a rough patch where I did feel I was treated unfairly.” 

Gibson raising his fingers to his lips, and turning around to brandish his name to those who had jeered him, was another way of restating his happier beginnings with Carlisle. 

News and Star: Gibson, right, opened the scoring on Saturday with a brilliant strikeGibson, right, opened the scoring on Saturday with a brilliant strike

He has scored six in 22 games since joining from Sligo Rovers in August, and is increasingly their most positive player in a tough season. 

He professed to be very happy with life at Carlisle, which has not always been the case in his career. “When I went through that rough stage, I think certain lads would crumble with what I went through,” said Gibson, who was with Bradford from 2017-2020 after moving from Rangers. 

“You have to be mentally strong because I was training on my own, or there would be six others, and we had no footballs – it was just running round the pitch. 

“That’s why I gave a little bit back [on Saturday], because I know some lads would fold under that and not have the willingness to keep going and try to do well for themselves. 

“That’s what I am. I know what I’m good at, I know I’m a good player and it’s down to me to try to push my myself as much as possible.” 

News and Star: Jordan Gibson was at Bradford from 2017-20 (photo: PA)Jordan Gibson was at Bradford from 2017-20 (photo: PA)

Gibson said he never lost belief in his ability even during that hard period. Where did that resolve come from? 

“It’s from within. It’s about what you want in life, and from your career, because nobody is going to create your career for you.

“It’s a game of opinions and I knew that once I got somewhere where I could play football and show my ability I’d be fine. 

“I have the mindset that I’m going places and nobody is stopping me.” 

This is confident talk, which Gibson is backing up. Having joined the Blues at a time of poor team performance, his enterprising play, on the wings and in attacking midfield, has helped raise the tone. 

His goal shortly before half-time on Saturday was the 23-year-old’s finest contribution yet. He rates a goal he scored for Sligo as higher in his personal chart, but of his superb finish against Bradford he said: “It’s the most satisfying.

News and Star: Gibson has scored six goals since joining United from Sligo Rovers in AugustGibson has scored six goals since joining United from Sligo Rovers in August

“I actually said to the lads before the game that I felt like I was going to score. I spoke to Tristan [Abrahams] and asked if he ever got that feeling where you’re thinking, ‘I know I’m going to score today’ – and he said yeah, sometimes that happens. 

“So there was a bit of relief too. There’s nothing better than scoring a goal. Everyone who has played the game will tell you there’s no better feeling, because there’s loads of emotion, adrenalin and you can’t control yourself sometimes.”   

Several of Gibson’s goals for United have been attractively taken. Before scoring on Saturday he had missed with a couple of sighters earlier in the game.

“I’m capable of doing it, I just need to compose myself in the final third, and that’s what the gaffer has been saying as well,” he said. “I get in good positions so it’s just about making sure I hit the target. 

News and Star: Gibson also scored in the vital win at Stevenage last month (photo: Richard Parkes)Gibson also scored in the vital win at Stevenage last month (photo: Richard Parkes)

“I want to add to my tally and get as many goals as possible, and as many assists as possible. I’m on six now, so I kind of want 10 in the league. I want to add value by being up there in the scoring and assist charts. 

“I want to help defensively as well, because it’s not all about goals and assists. We need everyone to chip in with everything and as long as we keep being hard to beat then we know goals can win games.” 

Gibson said he “loves” the defensive side required of him by Keith Millen, the manager who inherited the player signed in August by Chris Beech. United’s form and fortunes have certainly improved in recent weeks and Gibson spoke of the progress being made under the new manager. 

“Since the new gaffer has come in the belief in the squad has been massive,” he said. “We believe in what we’re doing, we believe in what he’s asking us to do, and the performances have been good.

News and Star: Gibson says belief has risen at United under Keith Millen (photo: Barbara Abbott)Gibson says belief has risen at United under Keith Millen (photo: Barbara Abbott)

“Within our roles in the team we’re trying to get better every week, and results have been picking up recently. That’s four league wins from five, and we’re getting the clean sheets as well. 

“We’re defending well as a team, we’re hard to break down and we look solid at set pieces. We look like scoring when we attack, and I think we’re improving every week.” 

These are conclusions few were drawing about United in their dire autumn. On Saturday, they looked a much more capable offering, with Tyrese Omotoye shining on debut, Jon Mellish working incessantly up front and Omari Patrick adding goalscoring dash from the bench. 

Gibson threatened more when Millen switched him from right to left, sending Brennan Dickenson to the opposite side. “Coming inside off the right or left hand side is my game,” Gibson said. “I like to be inside the pitch and as a team we believe in the philosophy the gaffer has installed. 

“We’re all together, we all believe in the same thing, and we’re all pushing in the same direction. We want to see how high we can get up the table. Ut obviously it wasn’t a great start [to the season] but we’ve got good players in the team, and with the likes of Omari and Tyrese adding to that, as you saw [on Saturday], that can only improve us more.

News and Star: Gibson's form is making him a fans' favourite at United (photo: Richard Parkes)Gibson's form is making him a fans' favourite at United (photo: Richard Parkes)

“Tyrese was excellent, Omari got his goal, and I think this is a squad that can do well.” 

Gibson was keen that Omotoye and Patrick left with plenty more credit. “They’ve been class, to be honest. Tyrese came in a couple of days ago, Omari had his first session [on Friday], and they’ve slotted in excellently.

“Tyrese was unbelievable up top, he ran the channels and held it up, and both him and Omari are going to play a big part in the second half of the season.” 

So, it seems certain, is Gibson, who at this rate is going to be the next asset United will have to fight to keep. “I feel at home here, I’ve enjoyed myself a lot,” he said. “I try to give my all for the club and for the fans and at the moment it’s going well. 

“We just have to keep going, and doing what we’re doing. We’re doing something right because we’re picking up wins, so we just have to keep pushing and working hard for each other in the same way.”