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Doubters helped to inspire Sky Blues' spark: Glendinning

 

By Graham Luney

Ballymena United goalkeeper Ross Glendinning says the club can take great pride in silencing a few doom merchants who predicted their top six dream was over.

David Jeffrey's side conquered Ballinamallard United on Monday night, making it three wins on the spin, to ensure they will wrestle with the Premiership's big guns over the final five clashes.

A Matthew Shevlin double at the Showgrounds made it a memorable end to March for the Sky Blues after 2-1 victories at Cliftonville and Glentoran.

Rejuvenated under Ronnie McFall, the Glens looked like snatching the last top six spot but the determined Braidmen had other ideas.

"The boys have been magnificent over the last three games, particularly after all the criticism that came their way," said Glendinning.

"I think some of the criticism was a bit unfair. We have reached two Cup finals this season with a youthful team and a lot of injuries have disrupted us but we have still managed to make the top six.

"Criticism is part of the game but I feel everyone at the club has to be pulling in the same direction from the fans to players and management.

"We are all on this journey together and if we can stick together we will have a better chance of being successful.

"I don't think many people outside our dressing room believed we could beat Cliftonville, Glentoran and then Ballinamallard. The result at Cliftonville really gave us some belief and momentum."

Former Linfield stopper Glendinning accepts a top six place is important for the club but he sensed a determination of the players to repair wounded pride.

"Reaching the top six is good from the club's perspective, and it's a financial boost with the added chance of qualifying for Europe, but as players we just knew we had been underperforming and it was about doing ourselves justice," he added.

"Our results had not been good enough and the defeat against Warrenpoint was a low point. When results aren't going well you need to put it right. We know we have been poor but we have dug deep in the last three games.

"With the injuries, it has been hard to get a settled side with Johnny McMurray and Kevin Braniff two key players, but they can play when they're 90% fit then get hurt and that's them out for another few matches.

"In the last few matches, we have needed to step up to the plate. I know we have underperformed in some big games, including the two finals, but we've got to learn from them.

"Ultimately we want to be in a position to challenge for the league title but only small steps can take you there. If we can qualify for Europe again, it would be another big financial boost, giving us a better chance of keeping pace with the top sides."

Belfast Telegraph

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