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Haveron demanding more spirit from his Glentoran squad

By Graham Luney

Gary Haveron has called on his Glentoran players to keep producing the same fighting spirit they displayed at Windsor Park for the rest of the season.

The Glens battled back from 1-0 down against Linfield in the Boxing Day derby to pinch a point through Aaron Harmon's superb second half header.

The Blues weren't clinical enough in the opening half and after some strong words by Haveron at the interval the Glens displayed a lot more steel and character after the restart.

It was some effort from a club which has endured a troubled season to date and former Carrick Rangers chief Haveron is still adjusting to life at the Oval after replacing Alan Kernaghan at the end of September.

The Glens haven't produced too many passionate performances this campaign and their eighth position in the Danske Bank Premiership underlines their struggle for consistency.

Linfield boss David Healy took a swipe at the Glens after the draw, saying: "It's nice to see Glentoran get up for at least one game every season" and there's no question the east Belfast men have been off colour for a large part of the campaign, but Haveron is crystal clear in what he expects from every player.

"What we witnessed in the second half performance at Windsor Park were attributes that I always tried to bring to the game," said Haveron ahead of his side's home clash with Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.

"I felt that's what I brought to a team, a wee bit of heart, a wee bit of fight and good or bad I was always a committed player.

"That should never change. The attitude, mentality and commitment levels from the player should never change.

"They have got to have the same approach every single week, not just when they come to fantastic stadiums like Windsor Park on big occasions. Otherwise you are selling yourself, the club and the fans short. We got the commitment we needed and I'll demand it again on Saturday."

The Glens and Blues will meet in the Irish Cup next month - this time at the Oval - and Haveron will demand his troops deliver another monumental effort.

"I think we've got to believe that we can compete with every single club in this league, if we don't we shouldn't be at a club like Glentoran," he says.

"We've got to set the bar where we are capable of competing with everyone otherwise what is the point in challenging?

"You might as well wrap it up and stay at home. We've got to take heart from the performance against Linfield. It wasn't a complete performance, there are aspects we can do better but they are coming to the Oval for the Cup tie and they won't find it easy there. We certainly won't make it easy for them but this result doesn't have any bearing on the other. It's a different game with some different players, we will assess what we have and go again."

The Glens boss said he paid little attention to doom merchants.

"People will write us off, that's up to them," he added.

"We have to believe in ourselves. We've got to be strong, show character and resilience. Our performances have been indifferent but we've got to learn from them. The same effort and commitment we showed against Linfield needs to be the minimum requirement from us every week. We've got to see passion."

Glens skipper Stephen McAlorum was shown a straight red card for a crunching challenge on Sean Ward on Monday but Haveron's immediate reaction was one of surprise.

"I thought the red card was harsh and the referee, Ian McNabb didn't give us a lot, we didn't come out the right side of a lot of decisions," he added.

"The penalty shout (Roy Carroll's tackle on Ciaran Caldwell) and red card are worth looking at. I don't think the challenge from Stephen was overly reckless but I'll look at it again."

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