Curtis Allen insists Glentoran can make the cut for Europe
Glentoran 1 Ards 0
Curtis Allen believes Glentoran are on their way to the top six.
It was his classy finish that helped Gary Haveron's boys gobble up three priceless points against a battling Ards at the Oval, but Allen insists there is more to come.
Apart from the striker's wonderful piece of opportunism, there was precious little else on offer to warm the east Belfast faithful.
In fact, there was relief all round when the final blast of referee Raymond Hetherington's whistle brought a lifeless affair to an end.
Allen, however, is adamant the Glens are heading in the right direction as they catapulted to seventh place in the Danske Premiership table.
"We need to keep climbing up this league to get ourselves into a European play-off position," he said. "We have up be up there. Obviously, our targets were higher at the start of the season, but we are where we are at the minute.
"A top six place is our priority - it's where Glentoran should be. When I was at Coleraine, I played one year in the lower half after the 'split' - it's not a good played to be. We don't want to be down there.
"We were beaten for a European place by Cliftonville last season, so that wee incentive is there, even if you finish in sixth place.
"European football is massive financially for the club. It's also great for the players and the young lads, getting a trip away and competing against good teams. More importantly, it's vital we have the chance of earning the big money that other clubs are getting every year."
It may have been only his fourth goal of the season, but Allen was delighted to see the ball hit the net, especially after having an earlier effort spectacularly kept out by a diving Aaron Hogg.
"I'll be giving big Hoggie a bit of stick about my goal," added Allen. "I know he likes coming off his line and I managed to scoop the ball over him.
"In fairness, he made some great saves. I still don't know how he got his hand to the first one - I took a great touch and hit it on the half volley. I was looking to the crowd for a reaction, but he somehow got a hand to the ball.
"I suppose it wasn't pretty game to watch, but I thought we managed the game well in the second half.
"We are a bit disappointed we didn't build on our lead. We were expected to come out after the break and dominate the game a bit more.
"But the way things have been going, three points was crucial. The crowd were becoming anxious, and we could feel that on the pitch. However, Crusaders are winning 1-0 practically every week with late, late goals and they are getting praised for that, so we have to be happy with the result."
Ards chief Niall Currie claimed his boys displayed commitment and passion, but failed in the final third.
He moaned: "I've come here many times to be spanked, but that didn't happen this time.
"Our problems lie up front, we are lacking a cutting edge at the minute. We fell down in the last third of the pitch. We haven't scored in three games now, which is a concern.
"We have got to keep believing. I'm frustrated because I think a draw would have been a fair result, but once again, we are going down the road
Glentoran: Morris, Birney, Magee, Caldwell (Ferrin, 39 mins), Allen, Lavery, Harmon, Addis, Nelson, Redman, Smith. Unused subs: Hamill, McAuley, Nelson, Cafolla.
Ards: Hogg, Hall, McMullan, Taylor, Brennan, Cherry (Hughes, 66 mins), Tommons (Liggett, 74 mins), McMillan, McKinney , Douglas (Arthurs, 57 mins), McAllister. Unused subs: Ruddy, McCombe.
Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)
Man of the match: Curtis Allen
Match rating: 4/10