Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran coach Gary Smyth can't wait to relive the Big Two derby atmosphere


Gary Smyth
Gary Smyth

By Graham Luney

Gary Smyth is relishing the prospect of being involved in a Big Two derby again when Glentoran host Linfield tonight.

The Blues enter the Oval fixture unbeaten this season but the Glens are also in confident mood having lost only once in the league.

Glentoran have been something of a surprise package and are currently in fourth. They know that should they win in the Sky Sports televised match and then triumph in their game in hand, they would go level on points with David Healy's side.

It is evident that the new management team is working well with Smyth and fellow Glentoran great Paul Leeman arriving in the summer to work with boss Ronnie McFall and his long-time assistant Kieran Harding. Smyth had three spells with the Glens as a player, winning every domestic trophy multiple times.

He said: "I can't wait. It's been a while since I've been involved in a Big Two game.

"We've lost once this season and it was the first game of the season so we are on a good run. We can go out with a lot of confidence."

Glentoran will aim to try and do something few other sides have been capable of this term - stopping Linfield ace Joel Cooper.

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"He's had a great start, probably the same as he did at Glenavon when he set the league on fire," said Smyth. "He's gone to Linfield and I know the Bluemen are raving about him."

On Glentoran's impressive results early in the campaign, Smyth said: "You would have broken your arm off for this at the start of the season.

"We are fourth with a game in hand, so it's so far so good.

"We've all got on well. Ronnie calls the shots and his experience is good for me and Leeper. We have our own ideas and we try to get them across to Ronnie."

Smyth knows better than anyone that there will be a cracking atmosphere at the Oval.

He admitted that in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Warrenpoint Town there was a real show of support from the Glentoran faithful.

"With no disrespect to Warrenpoint in my time as a player had we played a team down the bottom and didn't win we'd have been booed off the pitch, but last Saturday we still got a bit of a clap which was great," he added.

"It was a bit of a surprise but most welcome. The support has been great."

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