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Cool Hamilton brings back feelgood factor to Glenavon

Mark Miskimmin says Gary Hamilton has been a cool customer since he’s stepped into the Glenavon hotseat.

Hamilton enjoyed his first win as Lurgan Blues boss on Tuesday night when Crusaders crashed to a 3-2 defeat in a pulsating clash at Mourneview Park.

It hasn’t taken long for the former Glentoran striker to discover the roller coaster of emotions managers experience, but Miskimmin says the 31-year-old hasn’t brought a hairdryer with him to Lurgan.

The former Northern Ireland international knows there is quality within the Glenavon ranks and the early signs are that he is making it come to the surface.

Now, after the win over Crusaders, there is a feel-good factor in the Lurgan Blues camp ahead of the Boxing Day showdown with title-chasing Portadown at Mourneview (3pm).

“People know that Gary is a top lad, a really good man who is passionate about football and wants to see Glenavon do well,” said Miskimmin.

“Since taking on the job it has all been about the football. There have been no raised voices, it’s been about encouraging us to pass the ball and we have been doing that.

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“We were unfortunate not to get something from the Linfield game but I thought we thoroughly deserved to beat Crusaders. The three points were a reward for a lot of hard work and effort.

“I know people have said that Gary is only 31 but he has said himself he just made his interest in the position known and the club have put their faith in him.

“But what Glenavon are also getting is the best player in the league and Gary has proved that in his form when he was with us and at Glentoran.

“He’s a fantstic player to play with and players such as myself can only keep learning from playing alongside such a class act.”

Hamilton’s message to his players should be ‘keep your feet on the ground’ as there’s nothing like a mid-Ulster Boxing Day derby to concentrate the mind and their Carling Premiership future is still under threat.

It’s fair to say there has been little festive cheer at Mourneview down through the years as Glenavon haven’t won the holiday showdown since 1996 —with a 1-0 home win.

“The fans were unbelievable on Tuesday night and now we are going into the Portadown game with confidence,” added 23-year-old Miskimmin.

“We are certainly due a win over the Ports on Boxing Day and we’ll be looking for the three points. Not so long ago no-one would have given us a chance of beating Portadown but there is fresh belief now.”


Applications for the vacant Ballymena United manager’s post closed last night and included among them was one from Liam Beckett.

The former Cliftonville and Institute manager is a favourite of the fans at the Showgrounds and had indicated previously it is the only job he would consider.

”Quite a few fans have contacted me since Roy Walker’s departure and that more than anything persuaded me to throw my hat into the ring,” he explained.

“It is a club I know well, being from just up the road in Ballymoney, and have always had a good rapport with the fans, but we’ll see what happens now.

“It is a club with huge potential and more than capable of becoming the leading parochial side in the country.”

If appointed, Beckett would have to come in as a Director of Football and work alongside caretaker boss Joe McCall, who has the UEFA A Licence needed to manage in the Carling Premiership, with the former Coleraine and Crusaders defender looking to complete his badges in the summer.


Glentoran could be set to make a move for Linfield striker Rory Patterson next month.

Glens boss Scott Young is keen to bolster his squad and former Ballymena United winger Eamonn Murray has joined the east-Belfast side in an 18-month deal.

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