Glens must use Big Two glory as springboard to better things: Haveron
Glentoran boss Gary Haveron believes his team's Boxing Day victory over Linfield at The Oval has set the bar for the remainder of the season.
Against all the odds, the east Belfast side came off the ropes after falling behind to a Cameron Stewart goal to nick an unlikely win following strikes from Curtis Allen and Robbie McDaid, who is claiming the injury-time winner despite the ball taking a deflection off Blues defender Matty Clarke.
It was the Glens’ first Danske Bank Premiership win in front of their long-suffering fans since September 2 — and their first home success over their big rivals in 14 starts. Little wonder the players and the fans celebrated hysterically at the finish.
Haveron is determined to bottle the ingredients of this famous success — and has urged his players to maintain the same tempo, desire and hunger when they face Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.
“Everyone at Glentoran Football Club desperately needed that victory,” said Haveron. “There is no question our results have been unacceptable over the past couple of months — and I’ve said to the boys one result will not undo all the disappointment we have had to consume.
“Results have certainly fallen short of what’s required at this club. However, it can be a platform to build on for the rest of the season. It helped to restore a bit of pride into a proud club and, at last, the boys showed they have the right kind of character to be Glentoran players.
“To a man, they came through what was a formidable test, so they deserve pats on the back.
“But the game has gone. We enjoyed the euphoria of the victory, we now have to back up the result at Dungannon.” Although there has been a lot of talk over who eventually scored the last-gasp winner, Haveron was in no doubt.
“It was Robbie’s goal,” he said. “He’s cut in and hit it well, although the shot probably came off a defender, but the effort was on target. Like all strikers, if you don’t ask the question, you never get an answer. He took a chance and it paid off. That’s the kind of breaks we hadn’t been getting.
“I don’t want to moan, but we certainly hadn’t been getting the rub of the green. At last we got a little bit of fortune, but it was what the boys deserved for the heart they showed. No one gave us a chance, but we came through. Now the game at Dungannon is our next big test. We are back into the top six, where we have wanted to be all season.
“It’s up to us to use the win to galvanise us — to keep us tighter together. It’s easy to doubt yourself when people are giving you a hard time.
“When you are not getting results, it’s easy for people to jump on the bandwagon to have a go. But hopefully the win over Linfield will help the lads believe in themselves a bit more.”
Haveron admitted the Glentoran fans played a massive part in the team’s success. He added: “At last we were able to send the supporters home happy. After a long wait, they had the Big Two bragging rights.
“They turned out in big numbers and got behind the team. That’s something we want every week. It played a big part. Hopefully, they’ll come back.
“To come from behind against Linfield at The Oval on Boxing Day is fantastic. I’m really proud of the players. We now have to back up the result and prove it wasn’t a one-off performance.”
Haveron will be without Dylan Davidson for the trip to Dungannon. The defender was sent off after picking up a second yellow card in the frantic final seconds.