Linfield new boy Guy Bates wants last laugh
Linfield new boy Guy Bates had the last laugh in his team's dramatic 2-0 Europa League win over NSI Runavik at Windsor Park on Thursday night.
The 29-year-old, signed controversially from Glenavon over the summer, bagged a priceless second goal after new skipper Andy Waterworth had shot the Blues into the lead.
It means Warren Feeney's boys have a great chance of progressing to the second round when they make the journey to the Faroe Islands for the return fixture next week.
Bates became an instant hit with the home faithful after bagging a wonderful individual effort. It came only a matter of seconds after one of his trademark 'step-overs' went totally wrong. But the big man still say the funny side to it.
"Although I had a chuckle at at myself, I don't think the boss appreciated it," beamed Bates. "I'll always try something different. It's the way I play - I've always played like that.
"Sometimes they (the step-overs) come off - sometimes I look foolish.
"I don't mind that happening as long as when it does come off it helps create a goal for someone, or even myself.
"I don't mind looking foolish every now and again. I'm not serious enough not to have a wee laugh at myself."
But the smile on the striker's face moments later said it all when he took the plaudits from his delighted fans.
He said: "It's always pleasing to score.
"I really enjoyed the goal. I managed a successful step-over on that occasion and spotted the gap. I was thrilled to see the ball go into the net.
"The ovation I got from the fans when I came off near the end was absolutely brilliant. Let's hope there is more of that to come.
"I'm a big believer in the team comes first. I was just delighted with the win - and also the clean sheet which to my mind is the most important thing when you play in Europe.
"It was an excellent team performance. Once we got going in the second half, I thought we were really impressive all over the park.
"Big Ross (Glendinning) made a couple of superb saves, but that's the kind of luck you need in games like that.
"Ross's save near the finish was so, so important for us."
Bates admitted he is relishing the prospect of linking up with Andy Waterworth for the coming season.
"We worked on one or two little things in training," he said.
"I'm sure as the weeks go on, we'll work a lot more together.
"I've only been back in the country for one week, so we've only had three of four sessions together. But we talk a lot on how we can compliment each other.
"We are both in the same category - we don't mind who is scoring the goals as long as the team is winning."
Meanwhile, Glenavon still have a fighting chance of progressing after losing 2-1 at home to Shakhtyor Soligorsk of Belarus.
Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton said: "We gave it everything but two mistakes cost us a draw and possibly a win.
"The players are a bit rusty and they're going to make mistakes but they deserve great credit for the way they came back into the game."
Glentoran trail MSK Zilinia 4-1 after the first leg.