Belfast Telegraph

Elliott Morris feels new coaches are bringing pride back to the east


Big progress: Elliott Morris is encouraged by recent events
Big progress: Elliott Morris is encouraged by recent events

By Alex Mills

Goalkeeper Elliott Morris believes pride is being restored to the Glentoran shirt.

The 37-year-old, who will play his 698th game when he pulls on the famous jersey against Dungannon Swifts at The Oval today, reckons there are good days up ahead for the fallen East Belfast giant.

Morris joined the Glens from West Bromwich Albion back in 2002. He's savoured the good times in terms of League title wins and Irish Cup successes, but more recently sampled the bad.

The club's problems, both on and off the pitch, have been well documented of late.

But the introduction of Glentoran legends Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman to the management structure over the summer months is already beginning to bear fruit - even though the new Danske Bank Premiership campaign is still in its infancy.

Suddenly, a team that could hardly buy a home win last season are displaying a new hunger and desire which epitomised the former defensive duo, who are forming a formidable coaching partnership with manager Ronnie McFall and Kieran Harding.

"We have a different attitude... there is passion and commitment oozing from the team," said the veteran shot stopper. "Ronnie was here for a few months last season, but the addition of Gary and Leeper has instilled in the group what it is like to actually play for the Glens.

"They've been emphasising what it really means to pull on the shirt. It would be fair to say a certain degree of pride has been restored."

That was reflected in last weekend's thrilling 2-2 draw with title candidates. Probably 12 months ago they would have celebrated a result similar to that, but they were gutted to concede a last-minute equaliser from Eoin Bradley.

Morris added: "There were a few raised voices in our dressing room after the game. It showed what it meant to the players... they are now caring about the shirt and the results.

"I think if we were offered a point before the game we may have taken it because Coleraine are an in-form team.

"But on reflection, going into the last couple of minutes and holding a 2-1 lead, we were gutted to lose a late goal. Our defence performed superbly over the 90 minutes. They kept Aaron Burns and Jamie McGonigle quiet. But then they (Coleraine) can afford to bring on a boy like Bradley.

"He's a handful for any team. It was a case of one cross too many. Bradley must get credit for the way he got up to score... sometimes you must give credit where it is due. It was a great cross - a nightmare for any defence and a brutal header from Bradley. It was in the net before I even got my hand up.

"When the dust settled, we were disappointed at the manner of Coleraine's two goals - two cross balls into the box. We just didn't do enough to deal with them."

It's the second time the Glens have conceded late on. They were also sucker-punched by a last gasp Jay Donnelly strike in the opening match of the season that earned Cliftonville all three points.

"We are not the end or finished product by any means, but we are on the right track," added Morris. "The draw against Coleraine proved we can mix it with the best - that's a big improvement for us.

"We actually deserved something from the Cliftonville match, but it can be a cruel game. We bounced back to get a good result away to Ards, and the performance against Coleraine must go down as a big positive.

"So now we must keep the trend going against Dungannon."

Belfast Telegraph

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