Belfast Telegraph

i'm ready to hurt the Linfield

By Stuart McKinley

Mark Miskimmin will run the risk of upsetting his neighbours in tomorrow afternoon's Big Two battle.

And if his previous record in Glentoran v Linfield games is anything to go by there is every chance that his welcome home later in the evening will be anything but warm.

"Windsor Park is just a short walk up the road for me. I live not too far away," revealed Miskimmin, who used to make that journey three times a week when he played for Linfield.

Now though it's Glentoran who are paying his wages and the Blues old boy is in the mood to come back to haunt his old club and pile more early season pain onto David Jeffrey.

Miskimmin got his Glens career off to a dream start when he scored on his domestic debut in Monday night's League Cup over Ballyclare Comrades and now he wants to turn the clock back four years to a time when he was the scourge of east Belfast.

Twice in the space of three weeks back in September and October 2009 Miskimmin struck winning goals for Linfield against their bitter Big Two rivals.

A 2-1 win in the County Antrim Shield at the Oval was followed by a league victory by the same scoreline at Windsor Park – a result that helped Linfield regain the title from the Glens.

"I remember scoring a couple of important goals in Big Two matches before," said Miskimmin.

"I only started three or four and I think there was only one that I didn't score in.

"As a striker it's good to have a record of scoring important goals in big games and it would be great to score in another Big Two game, this time with Glentoran."

Aged just 21, Miskimmin was then at the height of his fame at Linfield at that time.

Peter Thompson's return from Stockport County a few months later heralded an early exit from Windsor Park for Miskimmin at the end of the 2009-10 campaign.

After two seasons with Glenavon and one with Donegal Celtic Eddie Patterson persuaded him to join the Glens in the summer, with the challenge of replacing Andy Waterworth – who left the Glens for the Blues in May – thrown down in front of him.

"At the time when I left Linfield I wanted to play games," said Miskimmin.

"I didn't want to be in and out of the team and be coming off the bench, but going to Glenavon probably wasn't the greatest move for me.

"I went to Donegal Celtic last season and – strange as it may sound because we got relegated – it's probably the most enjoyable time I have had playing football.

"At Glenavon people didn't seem to be pulling in the same direction.

"At DC the morale in the dressing room was good, we'd a great bunch of players and it was only when we started to struggle late in the season that the enjoyment went out of it a bit.

"I thought about leaving in January and I was allowed to speak to a couple of clubs.

"I spoke to Coleraine, but I couldn't commit to the travelling.

"Packie McAllister asked me to stay and promised me that even though I was on a two-year contract he would let me go in the summer.

"He was true to his word and I am glad things worked out the way they did, because once Glentoran showed an interest in me I jumped at the chance."

And he also jumped at the chance of getting his first Glens goal on his belated debut.

After a three-match suspension, carried over from when he was sent-off in Donegal Celtic's promotion/relegation play-off defeat to Warrenpoint Town at the end of last season, he grabbed the ball when the Glens were awarded a penalty against Ballyclare and promptly fired home from 12 yards.

"It was good to get a game. I had missed the first three games and it was frustrating going to watch them, doing a bit of training before kick-off while the others were warming up and then having to sit in the stand," he said.

"It's something as a player you don't enjoy or want to do.

"I played in Europe, but to score on my domestic debut was great. It's always good to get off the mark for a new club early and we are still unbeaten so things are very positive at the club.

"We have had a couple of draws in there, but we should have won both games.

"We created a lot of chances against Coleraine and as a striker I was watching it thinking that I would have loved to have been out there to get on the end of some of them.

"We are a team that creates a lot of chances and I am relishing the opportunity it will give me to score some goals," he added.

"Richard Clarke is back after suspension as well and he is the ideal man to have in the team.

"He plays in the role just in behind the striker and tries to thread balls through or out to the wide players."

Now he has to try to match Waterworth's tally of 25 goals from last season.

"Andy made the choice to go to Linfield and I hope that I can score as many goals as he did," said Miskimmin.

"There are other players in the team who are capable of scoring goals and they have done so already.

"Losing Andy, as well as Stephen Carson, is a lot of goals out of the team, but hopefully I can fill the void."

I don't think his neighbours will feel the same way.

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