Belfast Telegraph

Glens fans need to stay patient, says Mathieson

By Graham Luney

Former Glentoran favourite Andy Mathieson says Alan Kernahan should not be expected to work miracles at The Oval.

The new Glens boss has been handed the task of steering the east-Belfast giants to league title success - a feeling they haven't savoured since 2009 under Alan McDonald.

Mathieson, who was Paul Millar's assistant when he was in the Glens hotseat, played alongside the Glenavon number two and Kernahan while with Carnhill in the Dundonald Junior League in the late 1970s.

"Alan was much bigger than me and he could have done some damage," said Mathieson, who coaches Glenavon's reserve side.

"He played up front for us before establishing a career as a defender and moving on to Middlesbrough.

"I hope he does well with the Glens. I'm still a die hard supporter but I think Alan's hands are tied in the sense that he needs to strengthen the squad and it will take time and good signings to get them back to the top.

"The Glens have a few good young players but success is expected and that's not so easy when teams like Crusaders and Cliftonville are so strong."

Mathieson, now 48, is also committed to nurturing young talent through his role as coach of Ridgeway Rovers.

Linfield midfielder Jamie Mulgrew and Ballymena United striker Matthew Tipton have been brought on board to pass on expert advice to the kids in Dundonald.

"Ridgeway began about 12 years ago and it's been going from strength to strength with Michael O'Neill, Jim Magilton and Stephen Robinson praising our work," added Mathieson, who made 288 appearances for the Glens.

"We are working with up to 240 kids in different age groups playing five-a-side, seven-a-side, nine-a-side and 11-a-side games. Jamie and Matthew are great with the youngsters and have significant knowledge and experience that they can pass on.

"Jamie oversees the small sided games initiative while Matthew is an excellent figurehead with the 11-a-side set-up.

"We want the kids to enjoy the football and help them develop."

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