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Neeson keen to do it for the fans

By Kris Jack

Brian Neeson has been no stranger to silverware in his time at Carrick Rangers, but tonight's League Cup final gives him and the rest of the Amber Army a shot at a prestigious top-level trophy.

The 27-year-old goalkeeper was an integral part of Gary Haveron's Championship-winning squad in the 2014-15 season, where he lifted not only the league trophy but the Steel and Sons and Intermediate Cup to boot.

However, since that treble, Rangers have toiled at the foot of the Premiership for the most part, but this season has seen them impress in progressing in the League Cup, setting up a finale at Seaview against David Jeffrey's Ballymena United.

"The mood is brilliant just now," said Neeson, who is nursing a rib injury but expects to be passed fit to play.

"The lads are in real good form and there's a brilliant vibe around the place. It's a cup final we can win, it's more than winnable. It's a completely different team to the one that was so successful a few seasons ago.

"I think the last time, when we were in the Championship, we were winning every week so there were a lot more positives in the lead up to it, but I think our performances under Aaron (Callaghan) have been getting better every week so we know that we're more than capable of winning. We just need to put in a performance."

A 4-0 win over Ards and a strong defensive showing in their 2-0 loss to Linfield last weekend have shown that the work Callaghan has put in over the last few months is taking root.

"Ballymena have improved big time under David Jeffrey, he's got them playing well, a big, physical side with a couple of good forwards, good wingers," added Neeson.

"They were a bit hit and miss at the start of the year when they were conceding a lot but other than that we can beat them. They'll be the favourites but I don't think it will have any bearing. Once the whistle goes, the league form goes out the window.

"It will be a brilliant occasion for the town and the club, especially for the fans. We have a small group of fans and it's good for them to have a day out and hopefully have a good night out after."

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