Belfast Telegraph

Win them all to net title, says Glentoran star Gillespie

By Chris Holt

Keith Gillespie has admitted that a 100 per cent winning record between now and the end of the season may be needed if Glentoran are to retain their title crown.

The Glens have slipped to third in the race for the Gibson Cup after Tuesday night’s defeat at Portadown, which, coupled with a win for Linfield over Crusaders, saw the Blues march to the top of the Carling Premiership table.

Alan McDonald’s side start what they hope will be the beginning of that consistent run tomorrow at Stangmore Park against a Dungannon Swifts team who have already taken two points off the Glens this season.

While only a point separates the Big Two, David Jeffrey’s men have played two games less and could therefore open up a seven point gap that may, on the face of it, be seen as hugely difficult to eat into.

However, Gillespie believes the east-Belfast men have it in their locker to go on an extended winning run, while also feeling that the strength of the league this year means that Linfield are very likely to drop a few more points before the season is over.

“We have to at least make sure we win all of our last games before the split,” he said.

“Although Linfield have two games in hand I do think there are going to be a few more twists and turns — it’s been that sort of season.

“The fact that everybody is capable of beating everybody else in the league is a good thing for us.

“Clifonville have got to play Linfield again soon and a few other teams are capable of beating them as well.

“Ultimately that’s what we are looking for at the minute, it’s not really in our hands at the minute with them having two games in hand.

“We are obviously going to have to play Linfield after the split so I am sure there are going to be opportunities for us to close the gap.”

The former Northern Ireland international admitted he thought the Glens’ stop-start season had taken a turn for the better after an, admittedly not too impressive winning run of three games.

Gillespie did feel though that some things had gone against them — notably a disallowed goal with the game at 1-1 at Shamrock Park on Tuesday when Michael Halliday saw his header ruled out with Colin Nixon apparently standing in an offside position.

“I thought we had turned the corner and thought we could go on a little run after playing so well on Saturday (against Glenavon) and I don’t think we played that bad against Portadown either,” he said.

“Other things have been going against us too. We had the goal disallowed on Tuesday which I thought was the wrong decision and that would have put us 2-1 up and in the ascendancy.

“At that stage I thought we would then go on and win three or four.

“Michael headed the ball and it went straight in and I don’t know how the linesman gave Colin Nixon offside. He didn’t touch the ball, he’s not interfering with play — that’s the little bit of luck that you need.

“I am sure a lot of Glentoran fans, because they were at the opposite end of the pitch, were wondering why it was disallowed.

“It was a disappointing decision and those sorts of things have been going against us

“The performance wasn’t bad so to come away with nothing was very disappointing.

“We have had our fair share of disappointments over the course of the season and it’s about how we react to that.

“We have a tough game on Saturday and we have to go out and make sure we win it.”

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