Thursday 26th December 2019. Kick off 3.00pm.
On Thursday we welcome our old rivals Linfield in the Boxing Day “Big Two” match, the fixture yet again likely to command the year’s biggest club league attendance in Ireland.
Glentoran go into this year’s game in a very different position and in a very different frame of mind. We enter it on a ten-game unbeaten league run whereas last season we went to the National Stadium on the back of a seven-game winless league run. The result that day reflected the relative positions of the two teams.
Two years ago we produced what was in honesty a surprise 2-1 home win, when a typically opportunist first half equaliser from Curtis Allen and a late long range winner from substitute Robbie McDaid overturned a Linfield opener from someone by the name of Cameron Stewart (whatever happened to him? He looked very promising.). Incredibly only Willie Garrett from that starting line-up started our win over Carrick Rangers on Saturday, with Elliott Morris and Calum Birney on the bench at Taylor’s Avenue.
We go into this five points behind the Blues who have a match in hand. With all four teams ahead of us facing difficult derby matches we have every chance of building further on our recent excellent form.
Mick McDermott spoke to www.glentoran.com on Monday afternoon: “Saturday was a great win for us under very difficult circumstances. Carrick are a good team on a good run of results, and they made us work very hard for our win. Everyone who played worked very hard for us and Navid pulled out a very special goal for the winner. He hasn’t started much over the past couple of weeks because we’ve been picking teams for specific matches. But he’s a special player who can create, torture defences and come up with goals like that. It was going to take something like that to win that match.
Thursday is my first home “Big Two” match, and they don’t come much bigger than Boxing Day. Despite the disparity in our league positions in recent years, I know the intensity of the rivalry and the anticipation of matches between ourselves and the Blues has never diminished. I also know our club won the most recent home Boxing Day game and a few of the players who did so well that day are still with us, so they know what works in fixtures like this. Plus, the players we’ve added this season and lads like Paul O’Neill who have come through the youth system here, have the spirit, resolve, fitness and most importantly, playing ability to enter today’s game with enthusiasm and confidence. We know this is like a cup final for both sets of supporters and the players get that. But we prepare the same way for every game, irrespective of the size or reputation of the opposition. It’s vital that we focus on ourselves and our own game, rather than be distracted by the occasion.
For all that, I’ve been really looking forward to Boxing Day. We’ve had a run of tough fixtures against strong opposition recently, but so have Linfield. Obviously, they’re a good side and last season’s champions. But we’re a good side and we know that days like Thursday mean so much to our supporters and everyone around the Oval. So, get behind us as you have done week in week out all season and we’ll give everything for you.
Cameron did very well when he came on against Carrick and he’s available for this one as his suspension is under appeal. Joe is also available to us after his one game suspension. He’s been doing very well since he came back into the team so he’s a good option for Thursday.
Here's to a great day in a packed Oval, and here’s hoping we go home happy, with the performance and result we all want. You all deserve it".
The Board, Management and players of Glentoran would like to wish all our supporters, sponsors and volunteers a very Happy Christmas and to thank all of you for your support throughout the year.
The Board of Directors at Glentoran Football Club would again request that all supporters travelling to the Oval by private car consider the local residents when deciding where and how to park. Local parking is freely available at the Arches Health Centre.
Thursday’s match sponsor is the One Stop Mortgage Shop
One Stop Mortgage Shop based in Bloomfield Shopping Centre (Bangor) and Wellington Place (Belfast) is one of Northern Ireland's leading mortgage brokerage firms. The Directors are all local businessmen who have followed Glentoran for many years. One Stop Mortgage Shop have access to all major mortgage lenders across Northern Ireland as well as arranging mortgage related insurances. The advisors will search and recommend mortgages from across the market and guide all clients from application to completion. This will include first time buyers, home movers, remortgages, co-ownership and buy to lets. Evening and weekend appointments available.
Telephone 02891465265 for Bangor and 0289090312222 for Belfast....your search stops here.