Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran can build on dream start and finish in top four, insists McGuigan

By Graham Luney

Glentoran  ace John McGuigan believes that The Oval outfit can be a surprise package this season and finish in the TOP FOUR of the Irish League. The 23-year-old, who netted his first goal of the campaign in Tuesday’s 2-0 home victory over Dungannon Swifts, admits it is a big call to make given the Glens were ninth last term but he insists there is evidence to support his claim.

Certainly the air of negativity among the supporters on the back of a poor pre-season has disappeared thanks to wins over Ballinamallard United and the Swifts in the opening week.

With Gary Haveron’s men out to make it three league wins out of three when Carrick Rangers visit east Belfast tomorrow, McGuigan said: “I think we can finish in the top four.

“I know that’s a big shout but I really believe we can do it. There is belief and confidence in this squad.

“There is energy all over the pitch, we have young lads and we have experience. We’re only two games in and it’s very much early doors but we have to enjoy it when things are going well and also try to build on it.

“We are playing with confidence. There is a bit of belief around the club, not the doom and gloom people talk about. Pre-season wasn’t great but, let’s be honest, that’s only for fitness.”

McGuigan, who dedicated his goal versus Dungannon to newborn son Caiden, is in his second spell at Glentoran and is enjoying his strike partnership with Curtis Allen.

They have been joined at The Oval by another dangerous attacker, ex-Glenavon and Leeds United man Robbie McDaid.

“Over pre-season, Curtis and I have been working hard on the partnership,” revealed McGuigan.

“It was hard in pre-season because there wasn’t a lot of link-up play and we weren’t getting many shots off and we were struggling to bond a bit but now things are going really well.

“We got a new training ground and things seem to be coming off for us. I think we are showing we can play together. We also have Robbie McDaid now. He is a real talent. I hope he gets goals for us and helps Curtis and myself up top.

“I put pressure on myself all of pre-season to get off the mark early doors so to score in the second game was great and that goal was for Caiden.  I can score goals but I know I’m not the best finisher in the world.

“I do create chances for myself, a lot, but if I could finish better I would be a top player maybe! When I was last at Glentoran I was a bit-part player, let’s be honest.

“I was in and out of the team and even when I was playing, I thought I was doing alright when I played but it was hard to get a run of games as a young lad but that has changed now. I’ve matured and am feeling good about my game.”

• Linfield have been drawn away to Albion Rovers or Spartans in the second round of the Scottish Challenge Cup.

Albion beat Edinburgh-based Lowland League side Spartans on penalties in the first round but an investigation into the eligibility of midfielder Liam McGuigan could see Rovers dismissed from the competition or, as was the case when Livingston fielded a suspended player against Crusaders last season, the game could be replayed.

The Crues will, meanwhile, be at home to Motherwell’s Under-20s side who beat Queen’s Park on Wednesday.

Two teams from the Republic of Ireland are making their debut in the competition.

Bray Wanderers will travel to Elgin City while Sligo Rovers have home advantage against Falkirk in matches scheduled for September 2 and 3.

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