Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Mark Miskimmin is out to prove critics wrong

Glentoran 0 KR Reykjavik 0

Eddie Patterson is hoping to cheer Glentoran on to victory in the second qualifying round of the Europa League

Mark Miskimmin is expecting his first competitive appearance in a Glentoran jersey at the Oval to be a feisty affair but he isn't concerned by doom merchants.

Even though Eddie Patterson's side shut out KR Reykjavik in the away tie which finished scoreless, Rúnar Kristinsson's men are being tipped my many to finish the job in east Belfast tonight (7.30pm).

The Glens, who have added Ryan O'Neill and Niall Henderson to their ranks, are planning a hot reception for the team from Iceland.

The Europa League qualifier second leg is delicately poised but the Glens should be more forward thinking in the rematch.

Former Donegal Celtic hitman Miskimmin, who agreed a two-year deal with the Premiership giants last month, knows the size of the mountain the Glens have to conquer but a battling first leg performance has injected fresh belief.

"They are a great side and it is going to be a difficult task," said the 25-year-old former Linfield striker.

"I wouldn't think of us being favourites because they are strong and dangerous opponents but we have belief that we can go through.

"People will still expect us to lose this game but anything can happen and if they make a few silly mistakes then we can capitalise on that.

"People can write us off if they want but that will only drive us on to be successful and prove them wrong.

"I will miss the first three matches of the league season so there's an extra motivation for me to help the team progress in Europe. It will be my first competitive appearance for the club at the Oval and I want to get this new chapter in my career off to a strong start."

Glentoran players shouldn't need any extra incentive to secure European success but a trip to face Belgium giants Standard Liege is a mouthwatering prospect.

Miskimmin added: "There's a big carrot in front of us – Standard Leige are waiting in the next round and it would be a big glamour tie for everyone.

"They are a massive club and it would be an exciting experience for us."

New boys O'Neill and Henderson are ineligible for the tie but Irish Cup final hero Jimmy Callacher is available for selection again.

Patterson's men will need to show the same resilience and fighting spirit they displayed in Iceland to keep their European dream alive.

"We looked to contain them and hit them on the break so that we could give ourselves a chance at the Oval and we have done that," added Miskimmin.

"When the Glens played them in 2011 they lost 3-0 out there and there was a strong determination not to let that happen again.

"Although we took a young side out there we did create a few decent scoring opportunities and with a little luck we could have won the first leg.

"But they have raced to the top of their league, after winning most of their 14 matches and they have that added sharpness.

"It's halfway through the tie and I think it's great that the Irish League teams have acquitted themselves well in Europe. Hopefully we can keep that up on this occasion."