Belfast Telegraph

Ballyclare boss Hill remaining calm despite cup win over Linfield

By Keith Bailie

You wouldn't blame Eddie Hill if he was still doing victory laps round Ballyclare town square after Monday's victory over Linfield, but the Comrades manager isn't one to get carried away.

Ballyclare beat Linfield 1-0 in the WASP Solutions League Cup second round, thanks to a goal from Chris Trussell.

Reflecting on the shock win, player-manager Hill said: “It was fantastic for the club, but to be honest I'm an auld stick in the mud. I don't get too excited about these things.

“The players, the fans and the committee enjoyed Monday night but I see it as my job to keep the lads feet on the ground. Of course, it was wonderful to beat Linfield, but just like Linfield our priority is the league.

“Our performance against Linfield was fantastic and I actually think with a little bit of luck we could have won more, but we need to repeat that in the league.”

With no poor teams in the Belfast Telegraph Championship One this season, some Comrades fans might be worried that they could be in for a relegation battle, but Eddie Hill doesn't want to contemplate that at this stage of the season.

“I honestly think this is the strongest Championship I can ever remember. There are a number of great teams in the division.

“We finished seventh last year, but I don't want to set a target for this year and I don't want to talk about relegation. All you can do is win as many games as possible and get as many points on the board as you can.

“All you can ask from the players is that they give their very best. If they do that, then no matter what happens you can look back upon the season and say we gave it our all.”

Ballyclare had no game on Saturday as they were knocked out of the Steel & Sons Cup by the PSNI. While Hill was disappointed to go out, he isn't heartbroken.

“It's obviously disappointing to get knocked out in the first round of any competition, but we lost on penalties to a very good PSNI side, so there is no shame in it. We got to the semi-finals the last two years, so perhaps it was just our year not to have a run in the Steel & Sons.

“In many ways it's easier to go out now, because at least we won't suffer the heartache of another semi-final defeat.”

Ballyclare face Knockbreda next Saturday in the Belfast Telegraph Championship. 

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