Belfast Telegraph

Glens enjoy McFall factor

Glentoran 1-0 Cliftonville

Back in the habit: Glentoran manager Ronnie McFall enjoyed a debut win
Back in the habit: Glentoran manager Ronnie McFall enjoyed a debut win

By Alex Mills

Defender Willie Garrett believes Glentoran can benefit from the Ronnie McFall factor for the rest of the season.

The 72-year-old, recruited on a temporary basis after manager Gary Haveron was sacked last week, helped mastermind a rare home win for the East Belfast side on Saturday.

Curtis Allen's second half goal was enough to pinch three points against ailing Cliftonville and earn the Glens just their third Danske Bank Premiership victory at the Oval since September.

It was a case of Allen going from villain to hero because he earlier had a penalty kick expertly saved by Reds goalkeeper Brian Neeson. But the home faithful at last had something to smile about and they gave McFall and the players a rousing ovation as they made their way to the dressing room at the finish.

"After what had gone on over the previous few days, it was good to get the win," said Garrett.

"We had a good session with Ronnie on Thursday night. He worked on our shape, we went back to basics.

"He didn't know a lot of the boys, but obviously we all knew him. Ronnie is a big character in the Irish League and he knows how it works. He gave everyone a job to do, and told us what he expected."

Garrett insisted the players had to be professional after learning about Haveron's dismissal.

He added: "I only heard the news late on. It's always difficult when a manager leaves. It wasn't our decision, we had to go out and do our job and be professional about it.

"I felt for Gary. I have a lot to thank him for because he got me back into the team after being two years out because of injury.

"We have still a lot to play for. We are battling for a top six place and we have the Irish Cup quarter final at Coleraine coming up next week. It's a big, big game.

"Our focus now is on getting another three points from Tuesday's game against Warrenpoint Town, or today's result will mean nothing."

Garrett played an instrumental part in Allen's winner - it was is his shot that was cleared off the line, allowing the striker to pounce.

"I thought it was going in but thankfully Curtis picked up the second ball to score," he added. "I was pleased for him after he missed the penalty in the first half, although it was a very good save by the keeper.

"We probably put a lot of unfair pressure on Curtis at times because if he doesn't score, we tend to struggle to pick up a goal."

McFall, taking charge of his first game since leaving Portadown two years ago, ending a spell that spanned almost three decades, insists he is in the post until the end of the season and won't be throwing his hat into the ring in terms of a permanent appointment.

"It was good to be back in the dugout, but I'll emphasise I'm only here until the end of the season," he said. "There will be no comeback, I can state that here and now. I'm here to give the chairman and directors a bit of breathing space in terms of appointing a new manager to take the club forward."

If McFall was thrilled with his return to the game, Reds boss Barry Gray questioned his players' commitment.

"Not too many of our players can come off the pitch knowing that they gave everything out there - and it was the same last week and the week before ," he roared.

"This isn't what I signed up to do at the club with the quality of players we have. You are a top pro, or you're not - there is no middle ground for me.

"I was brought up in an era that anything you had, you had to work for. That is not the culture in the squad of players I have in the dressing room. Imagine trying to motivate top quality players to play for Cliftonville?

"I worked at Warrenpoint Town with boys that didn't have the same quality of these guys to try and deliver the impossible, but they were easier motivated."

He added: "Everyone keeps talking about the quality players we have at this club, I'm starting to question that."

GLENTORAN: Morris, Kerr, Redman, Garrett, Birney, McGuigan (McMahon, 74 mins), Knowles (Nelson, 45 mins), Gordon, Davidson (Addis, 83 mins) Allen, McDaid. Unused subs: O'Hanlon, Kelly.

CLIFTONVILLE: Neeson, Ives (Winchester, 70 mins), Breen, Harney, Curran, Harkin (Gormley, 70 mins), Bagnall (Garrett, 34 mins), J Donnelly, Cosgrove, McDonald, R Donnelly. Unused subs: Dunne, Grimes.

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)

Man of the match: Curtis Allen

Match rating: 6/10

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