Glentoran v Linfield: I’m recording this so we better be good, says Gault
In almost 10 years as a regular in the Linfield first-team Michael Gault has memories of many glorious moments stored away.
There have been league title victories and cup final triumphs a plenty while wearing the blue shirt, with an international cap as a bonus.
The only prize on offer tonight when Linfield face their bitter Belfast rivals Glentoran at the Oval is three Carling Premiership points, but there is as much importance in the live Sky Sports clash for Gault as any other match in his career — possibly more.
And it’s one that he wants to be able to recall with pleasure in later years.
“It’s my first Big Two match as Linfield captain, so I want it to be memorable,” said Gault.
“It’s on television, so I’ll be able to record it and hopefully I’ll be able to watch it back a few times with happy memories.
“If I go out and get a goal I’ll probably end up wearing the DVD out.”
Now that would be something to tell the grandchildren about.
Gault suffered the loss of his own grandfather, Paddy, just last week, giving him another reason — if he needed one — for wanting a win tonight.
“My grandad was a big supporter of mine so I’d like to do it for him,” said Gault. “I’d like to do it for my dad as well.”
Gault missed the Big Two meeting at Windsor Park at the end of August as he was still resting a knee injury which had blighted him since the end of last season.
He felt as much pain as anyone else connected with the Blues though as Glentoran recorded their first league victory at Windsor Park in over a decade.
In contrast Linfield only have to go back a few months, to April, for their last win at the Oval — a victory which took the Blues another step closer to their 50th title.
“We let ourselves down in the last game against Glentoran,” said Gault.
“Glentoran played well and deserved the win, whereas we didn’t play well at all.
“Everyone was disappointed with the performance. I was sitting in the stand and I felt the disappointment in the same was as everyone else.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice, so this time we have to go out and make sure we perform because we know if we don’t it’ll be a very difficult game.”
The Blues have led the way in the Carling Premiership title race all season. No slow start this time around. David Jeffrey’s men flew out of the blocks and only Portadown have managed to keep pace with the defending champions.
The Shamrock Park men moved to the top of the table on Saturday, but only by a point as they failed to beat Coleraine at home, ending their 100% record at Shamrock Park this season.
And that result has opened the door for Linfield to give themselves a cushion at the summit this evening.
“Obviously we had no game on Saturday, but I looked out for the result and although Portadown knocked us off the top of the table they only got a draw so it was a good result for us,” said Gault.
“We know that a win would take us two points clear at the top of the table and that’s what we’ve got to be looking for.
“That puts a bit of pressure on us, but over the years we’ve performed better under pressure, so it suits us.
“We’re focused on the Glentoran game and it’s always one game at a time for us at Linfield.
“Of course we have a sneaky eye on what’s ahead and with Portadown on Saturday we know that by the weekend we could be five points clear, but that will look after itself when the time comes.”
Glentoran are eight points adrift of the Blues as they recover from a run of form which saw them follow up the win at Windsor Park by taking just four points from their next five games.
“You can’t write Glentoran off, because we know once we do we could end up with egg on our faces,” said Gault.
“You only have to look at their squad to see how much of a threat they can be.
“Gary Hamilton, David Howland, Sean Ward and Stephen Carson are all quality players,” he added.
“Noel Bailie will have watched them and we’ll be given all the information that we need to hopefully be able to go out and win the game.”