Kirk out to kill Glentoran's dream
Paul Kirk has thanked Tommy Anderson for making his Lisburn Distillery dream happen — now he is hungry to destroy Glentoran’s title ambitions.
Another afternoon of nervous tension is on the menu at the Oval today, with Lisburn Distillery the visitors as Glentoran cling on to their one point lead over Linfield at the top of the table.
The visitors will be searching for the victory which will guarantee them a top four finish.
Glentoran will have very different ideas, as they hunt down their first taste of Gibson Cup glory since 2005.
The last time the Whites left the Oval in December the Glens fans were content after a 0-0 stalemate extended their lead at the top of the league to EIGHT points.
A goal-less draw this afternoon will not be greeted with as much enthusiasm.
Kirk knows the stakes are high but he also knows that his Whites outfit are a match for anyone.
“I put myself under pressure,” he said. “I’ve worked hard for 13 years where Distillery are now classed as a quality outfit.
“We had to get out of the First Division and we have built and built and reduced the age of the playing staff while enhancing the quality. This is all down to Tommy Anderson — he has made the dream happen for me. I appreciate that greatly. Not only is he a great friend of mine, but he is also a great vice-chairman.
“I have a good working relationship with him and it is one we want to bear fruit. When the players mature and if we can hold onto them, the club can thrive.
“Linfield and Glentoran measure their success in terms of league championships but we cannot lose sight of our goals which aren’t as high.
“The managing director of Falkirk told me if they finish sixth in the SPL it is a good achievement for the side and that is a man who has a realistic outlook given what can be achieved with budgets.
“The Big Two have the history and financial resources as well as bigger fan bases. We operate in a different world.”
However, a quick glance at the Whites’ teamsheet highlights the quality Kirk can unleash on the best.
And there is no shortage of former Glentoran players in a position to hurt their old club today.
Peter McCann, Gary Browne, Darren Armour, Andy Kilmartin and Ben Browne used to wear the green, read and black — as did Kirk.
“I just want my players to keep their performance and concentration levels high,” added Kirk.
“We try to do things constructively and pass the ball well.
“In (Gary) Browne and (Curtis) Allen we have two flair players up front and we are a good attacking team. Gary Muir has got great technique and he can smash a ball with both feet. He can be a real threat to teams.
“We need other teams to do us a favour by beating Crusaders but we also must play winning football ourselves. These final games are all about winning. They are tight games as there is a lot at stake — they are cup finals. The European places do not bother me and I haven’t a clue about them — what bothers me is winning football matches.”