Kernaghan is calling on his Glens aces to quickly regain focus
Alan Kernaghan wants Glentoran to rediscover their pre-season form after being "caught in the headlights" during their midweek defeat to Cliftonville.
The east Belfast side, who overcame Dungannon Swifts 1-0 on the opening day of the new campaign, welcome Carrick Rangers to The Oval this afternoon as they bid to get back on track.
"You never read too much into anything good or bad this early in the season but there were certainly disappointing aspects to what we did against Cliftonville," said Kernaghan.
"We didn't play the way we know we can, the way we did in our friendlies, and maybe we were caught in the headlights a little. These things happen and whenever they do, you have to put them behind you quickly."
Particularly frustrating for Kernaghan is that, in addition to the headline-grabbing acquisition of Rangers cult hero Nacho Novo, he has added proven Danske Bank Premiership quality to his squad during a summer of overhaul - players he knows he should be able to depend upon when the going gets tough.
Four of those new recruits - Ross Redman (Portadown), Eric Foley (Galway United), Aaron Smyth and Aaron Harmon (both Carrick) - started the game, while James Ferrin, formerly of Queen's University, and Novo were sprung from the bench during the second-half as the Glens failed to ignite any sustained response to Cliftonville.
The Reds were rarely threatened and, though far from imperious, were comfortable victors on a night when a sizeable away support had little to shout about.
"We've signed players who know this league and who have been here for many years," added the Glens boss. "I was surprised by how we played because it's not what I had expected. It was far from the form we'd displayed in pre-season but you don't press panic buttons in August. Those players were signed because I believe in what they'll bring to us and that hasn't changed."
Carrick make the short journey from east Antrim on the back of successive defeats that would have left them rock-bottom were it not for the point penalty incurred by Portadown.
An opening day hammering by Glenavon was followed up by a midweek loss to Crusaders and Kieran Harding's charges are expected to provide little resistance - not that Kernaghan will take anything for granted.
"You have to work hard in every game," he said. "There were disappointments in the loss to Cliftonville but we'll look to react positively."