Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran can perform now shackles are off, says Hill

By Sam Braik

Glentoran stalwart Jason Hill feels his side are under no pressure to deliver this season and believes that will suit the Oval outfit.

The Glens drew 1-1 at home to Coleraine on Saturday. While disappointed not to pick up maximum points having taken the lead, at least there was comfort for the east Belfast team that they didn't lose when the Bannsiders came on strong late in the fray.

A host of big name players left the Oval in the summer, and Hill is under no illusions about the task facing the current players in trying to re-create some of last season's magic that saw the team lift the Irish Cup, though as he points out not as much is expected this time around.

He said: "Obviously we've lost a lot of experience; four top-drawer players in Andrew Waterworth, Sean Ward, Colin Nixon and Stephen Carson have left the club The players who have arrived would have less experience than those who departed, however they're all quality players – you have to be a good footballer to play for Glentoran.

"Due to the financial situation that the club finds itself in – we have to go with the youth. It's a rebuilding process but this year the shackles are off us.

"We're not expected to do anything, and I think that's when we're most dangerous and if we can get some consistency, who knows what we can do. Football is a funny old game."

The former Ards ace, now in his 15th year at the Oval, has been awarded a testimonial year for this season in recognition of his contribution to the club.

"We had a great end to last season, and over the summer to be granted a testimonial was fantastic. Glentoran has been a second home to me and I'd like to thank all of the fans who supported me during the hard times," he said.

"I hope the supporters come out and support me because this year is also a chance for me to say thank you to a lot of people and I know I won't get the chance again. I'm not getting any younger but the 15 years that I've had at the club have been the best days of my life."

The left-back is drawing confidence from the impressive result away in Reykjavik when the Glens held KR to a goalless stalemate.

He added: "The team was superb defensively and perhaps on another night we could've even scored one, but that gives me hope for the coming season."

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