Linfield walk the walk after some tough talking
Jubilant Linfield manager David Jeffrey last night revealed the secret behind a third victory over Big Two rivals Glentoran in a row — a pre-match pep talk having digested Saturday’s smash-and-grab at the Oval.
The Blues, who remain in the box side to claim their 50th title in their 125th anniversary year, weren’t at the races at the weekend, but stole all three points with two late goals.
It was a different story last night as Philip Lowry headed them into a third minute lead and they never looked back.
“I was immensely proud of the players on Saturday, but when you don’t play well and win, there is a danger of starting to think you can always get away with it,” said Jeffrey.
“That was never going to happen this time. We made sure of that in a chat with the squad and that is why we freshened the team up.
“People like Philip Lowry, who scored twice, was hungry when he got his chance and Chris Casement then came on after a frustrating time and showed exactly what he can do.
“You could see the determination on the faces; they were busting to do well and everyone responded.
“That’s what we hoped would happen and they did me and the club proud. There is still a lot of football to be played, however and no-one at this club will be taking about trophies until they are in our hands.”
Glens boss, Scott Young was left to reflect on a third failure against arch rivals Linfield in less than a fortnight and admits his sole focus has now turned to what the Oval men can achieve next season.
Coleraine winger Stephen Carson has already signed on the dotted line and his Bannsiders team-mate Darren Boyce is also set to return to the Oval.
“The bottom line is that we have lost three games in a row to Linfield,” said Young.
“We have created chances in every game and not taken them. We have given away silly goals, most of them preventable, but I keep saying the same things.
“The players know exactly where they lie after this game.
“My focus is now on next season and bringing players into the club to takes us to where I want to be. Now we have to plan for the future. Some players have agreed new contracts and other will be offered new deals.
“If they chose not to accept them, they will leave the club and players will be brought in.
“It will have to be an active summer at Glentoran; we have already agreed a deal for Stephen Carson to come in and that is the sort of quality we are looking for.
“Decisions will be taken as to what players have done over the whole season.
“There won’t be any excuses. Scott Young has made mistakes too, but we’ve secured a place in Europe next season which we have to be grateful for. After all, the future of the club was in severe doubt earlier in the season.”
After a nightmare season off the pitch, and only County Antrim Shield success on it, Young is still confident he can restore the east-Belfast men to the top.
He added: “There is huge, huge pressure involved in this game and this job. It has been such a difficult season for so many reasons.
“I would say I’ve managed to cram five or six years worth of experience into 12 months.
“I am as determined as ever to make Glentoran the best, but that won’t happen overnight.”