Belfast Telegraph

Future's bright for Glenavon, says Gary Hamilton after new deal

Glenavon 4 - Glentoran 0

By David Mason

After shaking hands on a new three-year contract, Gary Hamilton admitted managing Glenavon was his "dream job".

The biggest cheer of the day went up at Mourneview Park even before a ball was kicked when Hamilton's extension deal was confirmed to the home fans.

Hamilton will now remain at the club he supported as a boy until the end of the 2018-19 season and was given a huge reception when he made an appearance from the substitutes' bench for the final 20 minutes of this demolition of Glentoran.

Even though Eddie Patterson's team dominated the opening half, the Lurgan Blues trooped off at half time celebrating a James Singleton double blast.

And it wasn't long before Hamilton was punching the air with delight as he played an instrumental part in setting up his team's third goal, dispatched by Mark Patton, before laying on the fourth which was scrambled home by Andy McGrory.

"I've supported the club since I was a boy and I'm thankful for getting the opportunity to work here," purred Hamilton. "It was always a dream of mine from a young age.

"I've now got a longer term deal to take the club forward. The players know that if they deliver for me, I'm now in a position to give them a longer term deal.

"We have some fantastic young lads coming through the system, so it's great that I've now got the opportunity of seeing the job through. I think we are going about things the right way in terms of bringing kids through the system.

"At the start we (the board) talked about a one or possibly two year extension. But I'm a realist. That wouldn't give me enough time to nurture these boys into the first team, which is my long term goal.

"If we want to be consistently challenging for the top four, we must make sure we hold on to the talent we have.

"We don't have the finances to buy players, so it's important to look after the kids. The main thing is we work within our means."

The result catapulted the Lurgan Blues into fourth place in the table, which keeps them on track for European qualification.

"We have four big games remaining, starting with Cliftonville on Tuesday," added Hamilton. "We'll take it one at a time."

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson admitted defensive lapses cost his team, especially in the first half.

He said: "When you are on top, you've got to kill off the game - we didn't do it."

Glenavon: McGrath, Kelly, Lindsay, Kilmartin, Bradley, Patton, McGrory, Marshall, Braniff, Martyn, Singleton. Substitutions: Hamilton (Bradley, 69 mins), Neill (Patton, 80 mins), O'Brien (Braniff, 80 mins).

Glentoran: Morris, Garrett, Kane, McCaffrey, Birney, Scullion, Allen, Stewart, Henderson, Gordon, Holland. Substitutions: Addis (Holland, 12 mins), McKee (Scullion, 76 mins), O'Hanlon (McCaffrey, 76 mins)

Man of the match: James Singleton

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge).

Belfast Telegraph


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