Belfast Telegraph

Biting back: Bangor boss Garth Scates deserves shot at glory

By Conor McLaughlin

It's not unusual for a club outside of any football league’s top flight to fly under the radar of pundits, spectators and interested observers alike. Their manager’s ability is likewise glossed over until such time as a big cup shock brings their achievement into sharp focus - but, even then, a giantkilling can always be dismissed as a one-off fluke.

That’s why Bangor boss Garth Scates deserves all the credit in the world on the back of Tuesday’s County Antrim Shield defeat of Crusaders,

which came just three weeks after the Seasiders had dumped the same opposition out of the League Cup.

Whether or not the club’s board dare to admit it, Scates’ top priority when they appointed him as manager in January 2013 was to get doomed-to-relegation Bangor out of Championship 2.

He went one better than that by masterminding an incredible late surge out of the drop zone, overcoming

seemingly impossible odds to keep the proud Clandeboye outfit in Irish League football’s second tier thanks to a dramatic final-day defeat of Tobermore United.

Scates’ first full season in charge was played out against a backdrop of harrowing personal circumstances, with a poignant photo of Garth and

children Gabriella and Elliott grasping the Intermediate Cup shortly after the loss of wife and mother, Lesley, both warming and breaking the hearts of supporters across the country.

Now, his unbeaten Seasiders are on course for Premiership football and have League Cup semi-final and County Antrim Shield final dates - both against Cliftonville - to look forward to.

You couldn’t begrudge Scates success if you tried.

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