Belfast Telegraph

We'll show Linfield respect before we do battle: Glenavon's Gary Hamilton

Linfield v Glenavon, Danske Bank Premiership; Windsor Park, Tomorrow, 3pm

History chasers: Gary Hamilton’s side are eyeing the club’s best ever points tally
History chasers: Gary Hamilton’s side are eyeing the club’s best ever points tally
Bobby Burns
Sammy Clingan

By Alex Mills

Glenavon will form a guard of honour at Windsor Park tomorrow to acknowledge Linfield's title win, but manager Gary Hamilton insists his boys intend to turn into party poopers after that.

David Healy's boys secured their second Danske Bank Premiership crown in three years courtesy of last weekend's goalless draw with Crusaders.

With the Blues preparing another day of celebration for the supporters that will include all the razzmatazz of the presentation of the Gibson Cup at the finish, Glenavon still have a little bit of unfinished business to attend to in their push for European qualification.

Even though Hamilton was hampered by the fact that star pair Bobby Burns and Mark Sykes, were transferred to Hearts and Oxford United respectively - and a number of his big hitters succumbed to injury - he has worked miracles to get his team into the position they are in.

Incredibly, if the Lurgan Blues manage to pick up six points from their last three games, they will achieve the highest ever total in the history of the club.

"We are in a good position, but it's important to keep it going," said Hamilton.

"We have three games remaining, so we need a big finish, we want to win them all.

"It would be nice if we got two (wins), which would guarantee us of the highest ever points total - we need six to achieve that.

"It would be an unbelievable feat, but it's scary to think that it wouldn't guarantee us European football. We could write ourselves into the history books, but still miss out on Europe.

"We've got three games left, so we have to try and win them all, to see where it takes us."

Wily Hamilton doffed his cap in Linfield's direction to mark their title victory, but insists his boys will be hoping to take the fizz out of their bubbly.

"They have the job done and dusted and they'll be professional as they see out the season," he adds. "It's a club that demands success and a club that demands victories for the supporters - that's the way it is.

"That's the pressure that comes from playing for Linfield Football Club. They will be presented with the trophy on Saturday and deservedly so. The league table doesn't lie. The best team always wins the league.

"I congratulate David, his backroom staff and his players. It's a great achievement for any club. We'll do the right thing and give them a guard of honour out on to the pitch, but once the game starts, we will try and spoil the party.

"We know it will be a tough task. They have won the league for a reason.

"Not too many teams have beaten them at Windsor Park this season. But on our day, we are capable of getting a result against any side in the division.

"I think we have proved that not only this season, but in past years. We know we'll have to have at least 10 players performing to get at result.

"We'll go there and give them the respect they deserve, but we'll be looking for a positive result."

Hamilton will be without midfielder Sammy Clingan, who will miss Glenavon's final three games because of injury.

"Unfortunately, we are down to the bare bones," added Hamilton.

"Sammy has to have an X-Ray after picking up a foot injury. His season is over. The medical people reckon he might have a broken bone in his foot.

"It's a bit of a killer for us. He has missed most of the season because of injury, so I'm gutted for him. We don't have the luxury to signing two players for every position, but we'll get on with it."

Glenavon have, meanwhile, announced a summer friendly with Scottish Premiership side Hearts.

It will make a return to Mourneview Park for Burns along with fellow Northern Ireland internationals Aaron Hughes and Michael Smith.

The game on Saturday, July 6 will be part of the Lurgan Blues' 130th Anniversary celebrations.

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