Belfast Telegraph

Darren Murray discusses 'stupid mistake' that led to Crusaders exit and hope of bright future at Glentoran

Glentoran striker Darren Murray.
Glentoran striker Darren Murray.

By Steven Beacom in the Sunday Life

Darren Murray has opened up about his controversial exits from Crusaders and Portadown last year and revealed his desire to help current club Glentoran become a force again.

Speaking to Sunday Life Sport, the striker, who netted twice for the Glens in their midweek 3-1 win over his former team Warrenpoint Town, says he is loving life at The Oval.

“I’ve settled in well, get on with the lads and enjoy playing alongside Robbie (McDaid) and Curtis (Allen). They probably do all my running,” he said with a smile.

“Robbie has set me up for my last four goals and Curtis does a lot of work off the ball and is a great goalscorer too.

“The coaching staff here are brilliant, the manager, Gary Smyth, has been very good. There are no egos in the changing room and I really want to play my part in making the Glens successful.

“The plans over the next few years will see the club go from strength to strength. If Gary and Leeper (coach Paul Leeman) get the backing to bring players in and get the structure they would like at the club, we could go back to the top.”

This time last year, Murray was at Crusaders having moved from Warrenpoint, and was considered a key figure in the title run-in but, after not appearing for a game against Glenavon in April and missing training sessions, he was on his way.

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“It was a simple issue of me not turning up,” he reflected.

“I had things going on in my life and I told the Crues that but they made their decision and I had to take it on the chin.

“There were family matters in my own head and I was disappointed with how things finished at Crusaders because I enjoyed my short time there.

“Everyone has their own problems. I deal with mine the same way I’ve always dealt with them by bottling them up.

“I was well looked after by Stephen Baxter and the changing room was brilliant. I could have gone on and won a League title that season but it was a stupid mistake that happened and I regret it but you have to get on with life.”

That’s what Murray did, returning to Portadown, where he had previously been a big hit. By November he had departed.

“Portadown wanted me to move on,” he explained. “I had no issues at Portadown. I was scoring and playing week in, week out.

“I didn’t go to training on a Tuesday night because I was working and I went in on the Thursday and thought I’d be playing on Saturday, but the manager, Matthew Tipton, pulled me after training and said I was going to Ards.

“I’m good friends with Tippy but said he couldn’t tell me where I was going so I asked to be released and said I would find my own club.

“There were a few clubs interested and I got a call from Ronnie McFall, who was managing the Glens then.

“I was originally going to go to Ards having spoken to Colin Nixon but Ronnie changed my mind and I’m glad he did. Glentoran is a massive club. They always have been and always will be.”

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