Belfast Telegraph

Tommy would be so proud of Reds: Hamilton


Respect: Gary Hamilton hailed Cliftonville’s performance
Respect: Gary Hamilton hailed Cliftonville’s performance

By Conor McLaughlin

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton admitted the pain of defeat didn't sting quite as strongly as usual owing to the poignant tribute paid to Tommy Breslin prior to the Lurgan Blues' loss against Cliftonville on Tuesday night.

In a whirlwind first 30 minutes, Joe Gormley's double and a blistering blast from Ryan Curran put the Reds in total control against their shellshocked visitors, whose boss was at a loss to explain their off-colour display.

As frustrated as he was with his side's capitulation, Hamilton reasoned that it was only appropriate that the Reds claimed all three points on an emotional night.

"I would never say I'm happy to lose but if there's one game where I maybe don't feel it as badly as usual, then this is probably the one," he explained.

"It's been an awful week for everyone associated with Cliftonville and I don't think anyone could begrudge them a win.

"I'm not pleased with our performance because the game was over after 30 minutes and I could point out all the issues we had and the things I wasn't happy with, but that would take away from how Cliftonville played.

"They were fantastic and for them to put on a performance like that with Tommy Breslin's family here will have been very special for them."

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Hamilton knows all too well the pain of having to perform amid heartache, with just three years having passed since Glenavon opened the scoring in the 10th minute of the very fixture they had preceded with a tribute to the memory of their former number 10, Mark Farren.

The following year, the Lurgan Blues recorded a superb derby defeat of Portadown while the club were mourning the death of then-assistant boss Paul Millar's son and, just last season, Hamilton lost his grandfather ahead of his team delivering what he labelled their best performance of the campaign.

"Football and fate have this habit of working together," he added.

"I think it was fate that Cliftonville would play like that and fate that Joe Gormley, Tommy's first signing as Cliftonville manager, set them on their way.

"Bressie will have been looking down very proudly on them.

"I still can't believe he's gone myself.

"I used to see him all the time because he'd walk the same route every day down past where I'd park my car and I was only speaking to him the other week when we'd agreed to meet up for a pint after he came back from his holidays.

"To get the news last week was really hard to take and I know how tough it has hit everyone at Cliftonville and in his family."

• Glenavon's Danske Bnak Premiership fixture at home to Carrick Rangers on Saturday, September 7 has been postponed due to a clash with Lurgan Blues' Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup clash with Formartine United.

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