Brotherly love helping Nacho Novo settle in at Glentoran
Alan Kernaghan says Nacho Novo is now very much part of the Glentoran family - in fact he's even got a brother in the changing room.
The Glens boss has revealed that the former Rangers favourite has been teased over his likeness to another Oval new boy, Aaron Smyth.
Smyth left Carrick Rangers and agreed a two-year deal with the east Belfast side in June, but that transfer failed to generate as much hype and fanfare as the arrival of silky Spaniard Novo.
The 37-year-old made his first appearance in a Glentoran jersey on Saturday, coming on as a second half substitute in the 1-0 win at home to Dungannon Swifts.
His first taste of an away venue should come tonight against Cliftonville at Solitude (7.45pm) and the Red Army will give the former Ibrox star a hot reception, but Kernaghan feels his glamour signing will handle the heat after integrating well with his new comrades.
"It's business as usual in the sense that Nacho has come in and taken stick straight away," said Kernaghan.
"The boys in the dressing room say he looks like Aaron Smyth so it's nice we have brothers in the team.
"Although there is a spotlight on Nacho here it is nowhere near what it was like for him in Glasgow. I don't see that being a big problem - he's a good professional, he looks after himself. There's been a little work required to get him up to speed but he's in pretty good shape."
The Glens fans are expecting fireworks from Novo, but also from a new look side handed the task of transforming fortunes at The Oval.
"As well as conceding too many goals, we didn't score enough last season and we wanted to be more dangerous in attack," added the Glens boss.
"The gap of 29 points between ourselves and Crusaders at the top was nowhere near good enough.
"We must bridge that gap and make it at least single figures."
Kernaghan and his Reds counterpart Gerard Lyttle are both beginning their first full seasons in management.
Lyttle stepped into the Solitude hotseat last October and a few weeks later Kernaghan succeeded Eddie Patterson as Glens boss. Both men are assembling squads to challenge for the big prizes and are determined to prove their calibre as young, ambitious managers.
"I'm more in tune with the league now and players that are in the league," said for former Republic international Kernaghan.
"That was the only downfall I had coming in last season, I wasn't sure who everyone was and we weren't really able to capitalise in the January transfer window.
"Over the summer we have moved players out and brought others in and that has went well."
Meanwhile Portadown will aim to put their recent suspension controversy behind them when they play Ballinamallard United in their first game of the season at Shamrock Park.
- Glentoran's ticket allocation for tonight's game has sold out.