Tom Cairney urged Fulham ‘to keep the belief’ after his stoppage-time header earned a point against Bolton Wanderers yesterday afternoon.

The Fulham captain, sidelined for much of the season by a knee problem, headed in a late cross from Kevin McDonald to salvage a point at death when Bolton seemed set to claim their first league win at Craven Cottage in a quarter of a century thanks to Sammy Ameobi’s first half finish. After the final whistle, Cairney told FulhamFCTV that he was delighted to mark his return to the starting line-up with such a precious goal:

I don’t get many headers, but Kevin McDonald gets down the left and a chance like that you’ve got to get in the box and hope something ricochets your way, but it feel to me nice and, yeah, I just closed my eyes and it went in!

Obviously I haven’t been involved lately but I feel like we did play well, especially second half, we were attacking. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to them – I think they defended the box very well and set pieces were always going to be tough to score because of how big they are. We wore them down, tried to break them down and managed to nick the draw in the end.

We are obviously disappointed not to win the game. We didn’t have as many goal attempts, shots as we should have done in the first half. Second half, definitely 100%, we kind of battered them in every way, we just couldn’t score early enough to get the winner. We’ll take the point.

The Scottish international revealed his frustration at having to manage such a frustrating injury – the like of which he hasn’t suffered before – and hopes he can now play a key role in getting Fulham’s promotion push back on track.

I’m quite sore right now. I think the second half was tough. It’s just one of those things I’ve got to try and get through at the minute. I feel like I was moving similar to last season, but I’ve just got to try and block it out and try and before. I’ve never experienced this before, I was hardly ever injured – touch wood – it’s just one of these weird things in football. I was lucky last season. I played 51 games with hardly any knocks.

It’s just one of things I’ve got to try and get over and get over quickly. I’ve got 75 bags of ice down there! I’ll be in the training ground tomorrow morning, try and get on top of things and take it from there. It’s another big week. We know how this league is – it’s relentless. If the manager plays me, I’ll try and do what I did today and hit the heights of last season if I can.

Cairney eluded to the lift his side gets from playing towards the Hammersmith End in the second half and asked the Fulham fans to stick with the team, despite the disappointment of a stuttering start to the season.

Always kicking that way, it feels like they suck it in a little bit. It’s brilliant to play, especially when we’re playing attacking football. We’ve just to try and keep that momentum a little bit. I know we’re not in the top six or anything but we’ve got to keep the belief and keep the ball. We do play some really good stuff at times and I can understand people being frustrated, but we’ve just got to stick together.