Fan power is Glentoran's driving force: Young
Scott Young wants to deliver payback to the Glentoran fans, who, he claims, have backed the team to the hilt so far this season.
And the best way to do just that is to beat Linfield tonight and hand the Oval faithful the Big Two bragging rights until Christmas, at least.
Young asked the fans for patience at the start of the campaign, with the club’s serious financial straits meaning that he was forced to release, transfer list and sell players rather than make signings, with only Neal Gawley arriving in east Belfast during the close season.
As a massive hero to the Glenmen during his playing days, Young needn’t worry about his honeymoon period extending a lot longer than probably any Glentoran boss in recent memory.
And his team’s performances have pleased the fans too, with six wins in eight league games so far and a three-point lead at the top of the Carling Premiership table.
Even when they lost for the first time this season, 2-1 to Ballymena United last Tuesday night, there was patience — something which isn’t normally associated with those fans decked out in green, red and black.
“The fans clapped the team off after the Ballymena game and to me that was a big thing,” said Young.
“I said at the start of the season that now we needed the fans more than ever and they have been fantastic.
“They’ve backed us to the hilt and in case they were in any doubt, I can tell them that the players really appreciate their support.
“A win over Linfield would be the perfect payback for them and I know what it would mean to them.
“A Big Two match isn’t about motivating players. It’s about spelling out to the players the importance of the game and what it means to people they are representing and the responsibility they have to perform to the maximum.”
Young hasn’t yet tasted victory over the Blues as a manager, but he can recall his first season with the Glens as a player and knows that beating Linfield alone won’t win trophies.
“We didn’t beat Linfield in the league at all in the 1998-99 season and still won it,” said Young.
“That’s not me saying that I don’t care if we beat Linfield or not, but it’s only three points the same as if we beat anyone else.
“It would be great to get one over on them this early in the season, but David Jeffrey will be saying exactly the same.
“This will be a hell of a difficult game and we’ll have to be at our best to win it.”
Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington will be at the Oval this evening to give expert analysis on Sky Sports’ live coverage of the game, alongside Graham Little.