Alan McDonald is enjoying the emotions of success after reaching the Setanta Sports Cup semi-finals against all the odds — but he insists he is just a relieved man.
The Glentoran boss, who was today named the Harp Larger Northern Ireland Football Writers Manager of the Month for September, has claimed he couldn’t wait to prove the east Belfast men had what it takes to mix it with Ireland’s big boys.
Daryl Fordyce’s winner against St Pat’s on Monday night booked a last four date in Drogheda next Monday night and now McDonald has landed his first individual award of the new campaign.
“It was funny with the season not kicking off at the right time but we got into our stride a bit more in September.
“The players make you a good manager so I have to thank them for their effort and their endeavours. We seem to be constantly lifting the yardstick at the moment with certain performances.
“There has been a lot made about Glentoran’s non-participation in the Setanta Cup latter stages and it has been a monkey on the back of the club for a number of years.”
The Oval men were rank outsiders just a month ago but McDonald had a few tricks up his sleeve.
Hamilton striker Andy Waterworth was brought to the club before the transfer window shut and although he is yet to find the net for his new club, his boss believes his introduction has worked wonders for the squad.
He added: “I’m very fortunate that I have three of the top strikers in Ireland at the club and unless I change the formation of the team, one of them is going to be sitting on the bench.
“What Andy Waterworth has done is set down a marker to Gary Hamilton and Michael Halliday and their performances have certainly lifted up a notch.”
Meanwhile, Mark Dickson has admitted that he thought his days of picking up individual honours had gone when he packed his bags and left Windsor Park for Seaview in the summer.
However the Crusaders striker has proven that, despite what critics say, there is life after the Big Two as he was presented with the Harp Lager Northern Ireland Football Writers Player of the Month award for September yesterday.
Dickson has been on fire since since joining the Shore Road side and his impressive form has helped the Crues to the top of the JJB Sports Premiership.
“I never thought I would ever get another one of these (Player of the Month Awards) after leaving Linfield,” he said. “It’s the big teams like Linfield and Glentoran that win trophies and big games and their players are in the spotlight a lot more so it’s only natural that they would win a lot of the awards.
“We have had a great start to the season and we know that we have to keep that up if we want to be in with a chance of winning major trophies.”