Glentoran midfielder Stephen McAlorum is keen to apologise to his team-mates, manager and the club’s fans after being sent-off in the Boxing Day battle against Linfield at Windsor Park.
However, the former Donegal Celtic ace says he reacted in the heat of the moment after being caught by Michael Gault’s elbow.
McAlorum pushed Gault who fell to the ground in the fifth minute and the referee’s assistant brought his first Big Two Boxing Day experience to a premature end.
Glentoran rallied to take the lead through a Jay Magee header but, with only ten men, the challenge was beyond them and Linfield finished with a flourish as goals from Mark McAllister and substitute Ross Clarke in the last 15 minutes settled the contest.
It was a typically feisty affair and McAlorum admits that he was probably too pumped for his first festive Big Two encounter.
Full of remorse, he’s keen to repay the manager and the club but he’s got a long road ahead of him. “I’m gutted,” he said. “I was hit first and then I reacted when I shouldn’t have done. I did push him (Gault) in the chest but only after he caught me in the chest with an elbow.
“Some people were saying it was a headbutt, but it was just a push. There was a bad tackle on one of our players just before that and then we collided.
“I think two yellow cards would have sufficed. But I know myself that what happened hurt our cause and coming so early in the game it was even more disappointing.
“I let myself and my team down and I’d like to apologise for that. I’ll have to learn from it and let it go. I’ll dust myself down and try to be mentally strong about it.
“It shouldn’t have happened and perhaps I got caught up in the atmosphere and the occasion. Perhaps I was too pumped up. Hopefully the manager, teams and fans will forgive me but I know I have making up to do. I’ll have to work a lot harder to do that once this suspension is over.”
McAlorum will now be unable to feature against his old side, Donegal Celtic, at the Oval today.