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Glentoran set for Ruaidhri Higgins deal

By Conor McLaughlin

Glentoran are closing in on Derry City midfielder Ruaidhri Higgins as Scott Young's January signing spree shows no signs of slowing down.

The Oval boss has made no secret of his desire to bolster his pack for the second half of the season and, with former Derry centre-half Stewart Greacen and ex-Glenavon and Ballymena United winger Eamonn Murray already on board, Young is keen to make further additions "right across the board."

He said: "I'm delighted that we've been able to sign Stewart Greacen and Eamonn Murray, they're both good players who can do very well for Glentoran Football Club.

"Stewart was in the League of Ireland Team of the Year and there were four or five top, top clubs down south looking to sign him, so it's very pleasing that we've been able to bring him in.

"Eamonn has been around the Irish League for a few years now but is still a young lad who I think can make a big contribution here."

Greacen - who, like bossman Young, hails from Glasgow - will train with Scottish First Division side Hamilton Academical during the week before travelling to Belfast on matchdays and can expect to be joined by further fresh faces when the transfer window opens next month.

"I'd like to bring a few more in," admitted Young. "Obviously everything's dictated by finance but we'll do the best that we can and, pleased as I am to have made a couple of signings already, I don't want to stop there and would like to make some changes right across the board."

Higgins - a 27-year-old from Limavady - is expected to be the next new arrival in east Belfast, while Bohemians defender Aidan Price has also been linked with a move as Young looks to lay the foundations for a brighter future at the club.

The Glens have blown hot and cold this season and, though Monday's 1-0 defeat of Linfield was their third triumph over the old enemy in three meetings, they still trail the Blues by 14 points in the Carling Premiership.

Young admitted that a surge to Gibson Cup success was unlikely at this stage but knows all too well the importance of European qualification - and associated financial benefits - to the club.

"I was delighted for the thousands of Glenmen, women and children that we were able to give them a happy Christmas with that result but, to tell the truth I'd rather be in Linfield's League position even if it meant losing to them three times," he admitted.

"If we're being honest, the title is probably a little bit too far away for us.

"It's been arguably the most turbulent period in our history and, this time last year, the club was on the brink of collapse.

"Our problems have been well documented and it might not be realistic to expect that we go out and win every Saturday but, no matter the circumstances, expectations are always high at Glentoran and rightly so.

"All we can do is keep trying to improve and find a good level of consistency.

"We lost an awful lot of money off our wage bill this year and have been trying to bring kids through but they need a bit of help and hopefully we can make the sort of signings that will benefit us in the long term.

"We need a little bit of patience from everyone but we'll get there."

* THE Irish Football Association are set to investigate the violent scenes that marred Portadown's Boxing Day win over Glenavon.

Minor skirmishes broke out both inside and outside Mourneview Park following the Mid Ulster derby clash and Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer has promised a "full internal investigation".

Ports media officer Trevor Clydesdale explained: "One of our stewards received a broken cheekbone and our chief steward was also hit by a bottle after they attempted to separate the fans."

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