Glentoran boss Alan McDonald has admitted that there is only one thing on his mind at the minute — winning the JJB Sports Premiership.
With just three games remaining and the title race delicately poised — the Glens a point ahead of fierce rivals Linfield — McDonald (pictured) has become completely swamped by his side’s charge for the Gibson Cup and everything else in is life has, according to the former Northern Ireland captain, been put on the back burner.
And with games against Lisburn Distillery (tomorrow), Coleraine and Cliftonville still to come, it’s unlikely that McDonald’s mindset is going to change for another couple of weeks.
“I am going through a lot of mixed emotions at the minute but what I will say is that I am finding it extremely difficult to switch off and think of anything else other than football,” he admitted.
“Just when you get one game out of the way you are quickly starting to prepare for the next one and that’s certainly the way it has been this week with playing Crusaders on Tuesday then Distillery this week.
“It’s hard to concentrate on anything else because all of the remaining games are so difficult. All I can try and do is put 100 per cent focus on Distillery and try and have the players do that too.”
He added: “I think it’s perhaps because of the change in format, that no one is used to.
“I don’t know how to put this without coming across as being disrespectful, but putting it simply, there isn’t, what you may call the luxury of playing against a so-called lesser team.
“I’m not saying you would have taken your foot off the pedal or anything like that, but I suppose it would maybe give you a bit of breathing space.
“But we are playing the top teams in the league and there are no easy games left.
“It’s the same for Linfield, too, and for the neutral, it’s a terrific end to the season.”
The Glens turn their attentions to the Whites tomorrow and McDonald is expecting a different sort of game than the battle they had with the Crues on Tuesday.
You’d expect a bit more football to be played on the expansive Oval pitch, though it has been said by some that that doesn’t matter anymore and they’d be happy enough with a 1-0 win in each of their last few games.
McDonald doesn’t subscribe to that, though.
“I want to go into each game with the thought that we are going to get the ball down and play the way it should be played,” he said. “If I have a criticism this season it is that we perhaps haven’t done that enough, but I am certainly not going to preparing to just sneak a 1-0 win because that’s setting yourself up for a big fall.
“It is going to be a different game than Tuesday’s (against Crusaders) but we have to go into it with the same belief and the same work ethic and hopefully that will help us get the win that we need.”