Saturday 21st December 2019, Kick Off 3.00pm
On Saturday travel to the Belfast Loughside Arena in the first game after a very sad time for our friends from Carrick Rangers following the tragic loss of their player Jerry Thompson last week. There will be a special gesture to honour Jerry in what will be Carrick’s first game since the tragedy. We know all Glentoran supporters will show our customary respect as usual.
Our last visit to Carrickfergus was in February 2018 when we won 2-1 with goals from Marcus Kane and Curtis Allen.
We started our current nine game unbeaten run over two months against Rangers, when two goals from Robbie McDaid and one from Hrvoje Plum gave us a 3-1 home win. However, this is a very different Carrick Rangers from the one we played in 2018. They sit ninth, nine points clear of the relegation zone with a game in hand. They’ve already won more games and have just two points less than in the whole of their relegation season. In recent weeks Rangers have had five wins and were very unlucky to lose to Crusaders and Coleraine, So the Glens will no doubt take them very seriously in their match preparation.
Carrick are likely to have no fewer than five players in the squad who have played first team football with us – Aaron Hogg, James Ferrin, Lee Chapman, Daniel Kelly and Kyle Cherry.
Mick McDermott: “Against Crusaders last week we got what people have come to expect from the Crues. They are a big, robust, physical team who have their own way of playing and they’re good at it. We operate differently and over the course of the ninety minutes I thought we were the better team. Our second half performance was outstanding, and I thought we created enough chances to win it. I don’t often comment on refereeing decisions, but I thought a lot of them given against us were harsh, culminating on the dismissal of Cameron Stewart near the end. That was never a red. Cameron was protecting himself as any big player does in that situation. He’d jockeyed the ball out to win a throw-in where we wanted it so he can’t be penalised simply for being 6’4” and the player running into his shoulder. That’s what I think happened. Also, I’ was unhappy with the reaction of the Crusaders player. That’s not how I would want my players to behave towards other professionals.
Our attitude, commitment and workrate throughout were tremendous. The eleven who played most of the game were outstanding and they showed the belief they’ve instilled in themselves that we can keep going and get a result in any circumstances. The fans obviously appreciate that and the support they gave us throughout is unequalled anywhere else in this league. Also, Navid and Elvio gave us a boost when we need it so that’s the benefit of having a good quality squad.
It’s great that we’re not satisfied with five points and no defeats from games against three very strong, experienced and quality teams. But we’re not. That’s the clearest possible indication of our progress since the start of the season and everyone involved is determined to build and improve further on that. That’s why we’re all here.
Carrick on Saturday will be a tough one. I’ve seen them a few times and they’re quick, they create chances and they’re dangerous. We absolutely won’t underestimate them on Saturday. They deserve more respect and appreciation than that. The squad is virtually all available though we’ll be without Cameron
As this is the final match preview before Christmas Day, I’d like to say that we know that this Christmas period is a time when teams show their camaraderie, their depth, their belief and their quality! As Manager....I know that we have all the qualities to do well this period. I wish all of our supporters and everyone in the Glentoran Family and the Irish League community well over the festive season.”