Belfast Telegraph

Steven Beacom: Beating Linfield? Scott knows how

He was lying on an Ulster hospital bed, ashen-faced and with his leg in plaster. Scott Young had been here before.

I tried to have a laugh with him as I had done many times previously. But not even Scotty, generally a happy go lucky guy, could raise a smile.

The poor fella was distraught. Inconsolable.

It was the third time that he had broken his leg.

He knew better than anyone that he would never again play to the high level that he had produced before.

Looking back now, Scott Young was one hell of a footballer — one of my favourites to watch in the years I’ve covered Irish League football.

He possessed skill, vision, awareness, an eye for goal and a footballing brain that made Roy Coyle‘s brilliant Glentoran side tick in the late 90s and early noughties. Goodness me, they were exciting to watch.

While the current side stutter and stumble around for something approaching decent form, Coyle’s team flowed like a waterfall.

Just as a Glentoran side should, the fans would tell you.

Young wasn’t the biggest midfielder and a few hard men here thought they could bully him only to find that the Scot was a tough little blighter, never afraid to mix it in the middle of the park.

That’s a Glasgow upbringing for you.

Scott was helped of course by having his best buddy and minder Pete Batey beside him.

They were some duo on and off the park. Great company away from the pitch. Great partnership once they crossed the white line helping the Glens beat Linfield to trophies galore.

After Alan McDonald’s departure Young and Batey are together again.

The latter has joined the coaching staff with Young installed as Oval boss until the end of the season.

Scott will know better than most that keeping Glentoran fans content, like their Linfield equivalent, is tougher than engineering a peace deal between John Terry and Wayne Bridge, so he has his work cut out.

In his favour though is a popularity amongst the Oval faithful that McDonald, despite his legendary Northern Ireland status, never enjoyed in east Belfast.

Another more important plus point is that Young, belying those baby faced features, has a steely character.

You need to have to force yourself back from those leg breaks — from memory he also dislocated his shoulder twice — and retirement from playing at the age of 29 and return to the game.

Young has been unlucky with injury.

But he’s a winner. That will stand the Glens in good stead with difficult weeks ahead, starting tomorrow with a titanic Irish Cup clash at home to bitter rivals Linfield.

Young beat the blues on that hospital bed five years ago.

If he beats the Blues at the weekend, Glentoran’s miserable campaign might just turn around.

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