Belfast Telegraph

Larne trip is a 'big test of character' after Glenavon's Windsor humbling, says Hamilton

Moving on: Gary Hamilton is writing off the 7-0 defeat
Moving on: Gary Hamilton is writing off the 7-0 defeat

By Alex Mills

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton insists his boys will not be seeking a sympathy vote following last weekend's mauling by Linfield at Windsor Park.

Even though the Lurgan Blues were showing signs of improvement ahead of their trip to the international venue, they proceeded to turn in their worst showing of the season and fell to an embarrassing 7-0 defeat.

Pragmatic Hamilton held up his hands and admitted it was the best Linfield display he'd seen for years, but the hurt on his face was evident.

The former Northern Ireland international acknowledges a similar type of performance tonight against big-spending Larne at Inver Park will again end in disaster.

Tiernan Lynch's boys certainly have not been as free-scoring as Linfield - they have failed to hit the net in their previous two Danske Bank Premiership outings.

Hamilton admits the only way to get last week's debacle out of the system is to pocket three points in east Antrim.

"Life moves on, football moves on," he said.

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"We took it on the chin last week and we have to learn from it.

"We have to use things like that as motivation - not only me, but the players. We will use it to drive us on and make us better.

"I've never experienced a defeat like that before.

"I realised what was happening early doors and I was fearful, to be honest.

"Heads were dropping and others were not wanting to get on the ball, being afraid of making a mistake.

"They went into hiding, but that happens in football.

"I've probably been in positions when I went into hiding myself as a player.

"All we can do is go back to the drawing board. We worked hard in training this week and looked at things that went wrong.

"Now we face a massive test against a good Larne side.

"We've prepared well, so this will be a big test of character. If we stand off them and show them too much respect it could be another long night at the office.

"We've got it (the defeat) out of the system, so we want to put in a performance for everyone."

Defender Seamus Sharkey remains out with a head injury, while Robbie Norton has started a recovery programme, working in the gym following a cruciate operation.

Midfielder Sammy Clingan, who became a dad this week, will not be risked on Larne's 4G pitch.

"We had injuries and other issues at the start of the season and results were not great, but to be fair to the lads their attitude and their training have been excellent," added Hamilton.

"We had been on a decent wee run going into last week's game, we were beaten (3-2) at Crusaders in a game we deserved to take something from.

"Then we had a good win over Ballymena United, so we certainly didn't see last week's result coming.

"The lads had been bang on the money going into last weekend's match. For some reason, it all fell flat at Windsor Park, it certainly didn't leave us in a good place.

"The game was over after 14 minutes (Glenavon were 3-0 down). When we conceded that many goals so early on, it was always going to be a long day at the office.

"Ironically enough, the two players that did most of the damage came through Glenavon in their younger days - Shayne Lavery and Joel Cooper.

"We couldn't get to grips with them. In saying that, most of the Linfield team were nine out of 10.

"When good players are on form, they will create chances.

"It was a disappointing day all round, especially for our supporters who took the time and spent their money travelling to the game."

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