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McAlorum: Glens must set league aims high

By David Mason

Glentoran skipper Stephen McAlorum has warned his team should not be labelled as cup specialists.

Eddie Patterson's boys have lifted the Irish Cup twice in the last three years but have been left wanting when it comes to a title challenge.

They again displayed their pedigree in the NI Hospice Charity Shield win over league champions Crusaders, but the big test comes next week with the start of the new Danske Bank Premiership campaign.

"It is a young group of players and on our day, we are as good as any team in the league," said McAlorum, who has taken over the captaincy from goalkeeper Elliott Morris. "We more than matched Crusaders, Linfield and Cliftonville last season. It's a matter of getting into the boys' heads that we are a good side.

"They are now a year older. They now have the experience of being a trophy winner, so hopefully they can use that."

McAlorum admits he takes great pride in pulling on the skipper's armband.

He added: "There have been many great players to captain the side when you look down the line to the likes of Paul Leeman, Colin Nixon and Elliott Morris.

"They are all great Irish League names. It's a privilege for me."

Once a hot-head with a poor disciplinary record, McAlorum is now a mature leader on the pitch.

"I knew I had to make a change," he said. "My mentality also had to improve. I was being stupid at times. I had to learn not to react. I talked to many people about it. I knew there was a better side to me. Thankfully, I had good people around me to help me."

McAlorum now intends to lead the Glens as high up the league table as possible.

"Our target is to better our league position. We finished in sixth and that's not good enough. We need to look at two or three places above that," he concluded.

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