Belfast Telegraph

Modest Clingan plays down winner's medal

By Graham Luney

Sammy Clingan was handed a league championship winners medal this week but has questioned if he truly deserves it.

Last season the former Northern Ireland midfielder, now with Glenavon, watched on as his Linfield team-mates won the Danske Bank Premiership title in dramatic fashion, beating Cliftonville 3-1 at Solitude on the final day of the campaign.

Others may have been shouting from the rooftops about their role in the success. Not Clingan though.

He admits that he didn't really feel part of the celebrations in north Belfast because he had not played as much as he wanted to due to injury.

Clingan received his medal on a visit to Windsor Park. There was no grand ceremony. No pomp or circumstance. Blues official Andy Conn just handed over a small box with the medal tucked inside.

"I was given my league winners medal but I don't know what to do with it because I only played 11 or 12 games. I don't feel that I deserved it," said Clingan, speaking on Cool FM's Danske Bank Premiership show.

"Linfield did brilliantly last season but when we went to Solitude and won the league I didn't feel part of it because I was injured so much over the course of the season."

Thankfully the classy midfielder is back playing regular football again and is a key component of the positive results Glenavon have been enjoying since the new campaign kicked off early last month.

The Mourneview Park men host Ards today and will feel another win is theirs for the taking if they produce the form they are capable of.

For Clingan it is a relief to be doing what he loves - being out on a pitch dictating games from the middle of the park.

"I'm just glad to be back playing football after a horrendous time with injuries during my career," said the former Nottingham Forest and Coventry City star, who is 34 in January.

"I had a thought about retiring but I worked hard during the summer and decided to carry on and Gary Hamilton gave me the chance to play at Glenavon and it's going well so far."

Clingan's experience has helped the promising young talent blossom at the Lurgan club, who enter today's fixture in fourth place, five points off the top.

"Glenavon are an entertaining team," says the ex-Kilmarnock man.

"We score a lot of goals but we concede some as well and it would be nice to shut out the opposition.

"We were actually disappointed to concede against Cliftonville last week because we were 3-0 up and in control and then they scored late on to make it 3-1.

"Against Ards we are expecting another tough match, but hopefully we can get a result to keep our momentum going."

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