Belfast Telegraph

Glenn Ferguson is eyeing hot seat at Lisburn Distillery

By Graham Luney

Glenn Ferguson says he’s ready and willing to be Lisburn Distillery’s new manager — if the club want him to succeed Tommy Wright.

Wright and his former Northern Ireland team-mate Steve Lomas will be unveiled as the new management team at Scottish Premier League club St Johnstone in a press conference this morning.

Lomas persuaded the former Ballymena United and Limavady United manager to be his assistant at the Perth club and Wright shocked Whites players on Tuesday night when he informed them he was leaving.

For Wright, who was in charge at Lisburn Distillery since September 2009, it was an opportunity he couldn’t refuse.

The former Northern Ireland stopper, who won 31 caps, will always be fondly remembered at Ballyskeagh as the man who ended the trophy famine by guiding his side to Co-operative Insurance Cup success in April this year, netting Distillery their first major trophy since 1993.

Ferguson and John Cunningham will now take temporary charge of the Whites but the Linfield legend has never hid his desire to go into management and suddenly the door has sprung open for him.

Having already gained valuable experience as part of Wright's backroom team, ‘Spike’ has just secured his Uefa A licence and he would relish the chance to revive the Whites’ fortunes.

“Everyone respects Tommy’s decision and it’s an offer that he couldn’t turn down,” said Ferguson. “We’re pleased for him to get such a top job at an SPL club and we all wish him well.

“To be going up against Rangers and Celtic is a massive opportunity for him and Steve.

“I think we are all surprised at what has happened, there was no major talk about it but we can understand Tommy’s actions and myself and John (Cunningham) will take charge for now.

“We have a good bunch of lads here and we’ll just have to regroup and carry on. It’s up to the club who they want to replace Tommy with but myself and John are in place and if they have faith in us that would be great.

“I’ve just finished by Uefa A licence and if Distillery feel I can do a job for them then that would be great. The most important thing now is Saturday’s match (at home to Donegal Celtic) and we need to start getting results.

“Some things are going on the background such as the attempts to sell the ground and we don’t know everything that is going on, but myself and John have been there for two years and we’ve been around the game for a long time.”

While Ferguson remains focused on masterminding a Whites revival, Wright and Lomas will soon be pitting their wits against familiar faces in Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels and Celtic supremo Neil Lennon.

The new St Johnstone duo were team-mates at Manchester City as well as with Northern Ireland. Ferguson can easily understand why Lomas would want to bring Wright with him to McDiarmid Park.

“Tommy is very shrewd and smart,” added the local game’s second highest goalscorer. “As well as having that tactical awareness that managers need he knows how things should operate away from the pitch and I think Steve knows he’s getting all that expertise and knowledge.

“I would give Tommy a call anytime and seek his advice. I’ve already learned a great deal from him and he has extensive experience of football across the water.”

The Whites lie ninth in the Carling Premiership, with just three wins from their 14 league games.

“It’s about taking one game at a time now,” added Ferguson. “One week at a time.”

Wright’s exit confirmed again that a week can be a long time in football.

  • Rory Donnelly's sensational second goal for Cliftonville against Linfield in the County Antrim Shield semi-final has netted the Carling Goal of the Month prize.

Donnelly cut inside Stephen Douglas and curled the ball beyond Alan Blayney during the 6-2 rout.

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