Belfast Telegraph

Murray won't be put on the spot in Lurgan Blues' Seaview crunch

Penalty pain: Stephen Murray missed from 12 yards last week but later kept up his scoring run for Glenavon
Penalty pain: Stephen Murray missed from 12 yards last week but later kept up his scoring run for Glenavon

By Alex Mills

Striker Stephen Murray doesn't expect to be top of the pecking order should Glenavon be awarded a spot kick at Seaview tomorrow.

The 30-year-old is prepared to go to the back of the queue after fluffing his lines from 12 yards last weekend against Warrenpoint Town.

Murray, however, did make amends by grabbing a precious equaliser before the break - a goal that helped keep Gary Hamilton's Lurgan Blues at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table.

But he's now prepared to pass on the responsibility, should it be required in tomorrow's blockbuster against a fast-improving Crusaders.

"It wasn't the best penalty I'd ever struck, although it was a decent save by the keeper (Aaron McCarey)," said Murray. "If someone else wants to hit the next one, I'll have to let them.

"Andrew Mitchell also missed earlier in the season, so it's not a good trend. Sammy Clingan hit most of the spot kicks last season, but he's been struggling a bit with injury so far.

"Thankfully, I didn't let the penalty miss affect me because I managed to nick the equaliser. It was important for us to get back on terms before the interval.

"It made it a bit easier for me coming in to face the boys at half-time - it took the pressure off me a bit."

Although Glenavon were unbeaten over a two-month period, their great run was halted on a horrible night at the Ballymena United Showgrounds a fortnight ago when they lost 2-1, then Warrenpoint turned in a battling performance to grind out a point at Mourneview Park.

"It's simply a bit of a blip, which is disappointing because we were going so well," added Murray. "We actually played well against Warrenpoint, but they defended really stubbornly.

"We hit the crossbar and the keeper made a couple of good saves. Warrenpoint held the Blues the previous week, so the performance proved it wasn't a fluke.

Murray believes the Lurgan Blues can get back to winning ways on the Shore Road.

"There are always goals when Glenavon and Crusaders meet," he says. "The game between the sides at Mourneview Park earlier this season was a cracking match, we won it 3-2 with a brilliant Josh Daniel goal.

"I know Crusaders' early season form was a bit up and down, but they seemed to have come out the other end now. Apparently, they were very good in midweek against Glentoran.

"Hopefully, we can put a halt to that on Saturday. You don't have to get yourself up for the big games like this, they are great to play in."

Murray's goal last week was his 10th of the campaign. He's hoping there are more to come.

"I jotted down a number earlier in the season - a target, 'll keep to myself, but I'm already now looking to go past it."

Belfast Telegraph


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