Glentoran need more belief, says Gary Hamilton
Glentoran striker Gary Hamilton says it is time that he and his team-mates started believing in themselves when they are playing on their own patch.
Much has been made about the Glens’ form at the Oval with manager Scott Young even indicating that this is not a new scenario and that performances in front of their own fans have not been good enough for the past two or three years, never mind in the early stages of this current campaign.
Glentoran have proven to be a match for the best of the Carling Premiership having kicked off the season with a win over Crusaders, and then on Saturday they ended an 11-year wait for a league win at Windsor Park by beating fierce rivals and pace-setters Linfield |1-0, thanks to Ciaran Martyn’s first-half strike.
The key issue, though, is that both of those impressive victories have come on their travels, with their showings so far at the Oval, far from encouraging.
Two weeks ago they were poor in just about beating Dungannon Swifts and seven days later came that now infamous |2-1 defeat to Donegal Celtic which led to much soul-searching round Mersey Street way.
To their immense credit, the team responded to the fierce criticism that arrived as a result of that reversal, by turning in a display of character and determination at Windsor on Saturday.
If that showdown with the Blues was a test, then another arrives tonight when the Glens return to the Oval for a clash with Coleraine.
Hamilton agreed with his boss with regards to the way they play at the Oval, with the manager saying that their famous old ground has to now be turned into a fortress.
But Hamilton feels it is a case of trying to overcome their own fear and transferring that apprehension onto the opposition, and then trying to match the mental toughness that Linfield have shown in winning a huge amount of major trophies in the last few years.
“There's no doubting that there is quality in the squad,” said Hamilton, who was impressive in his first start on Saturday since returning from a club-imposed exile.
“I have been saying for a long time that you have to believe in yourself and be strong.
“I think personally, some boys worry about playing at the Oval. If you can go and play at Windsor Park the way we did there then there is no reason why we can't do it at the Oval.
“The fans were great (on Saturday), they got behind us and sometimes at the Oval that doesn't happen but that's when you have to show your mental strength.
“That's why Linfield have dominated in the league for years because mentally they are strong.
“They get as much criticism here as we do at the Oval but they are able to deal with it and that's what it takes to win championships.”