Glentoran comeback builds belief that the climb has started, says McDermott
Glentoran might still be looking for their first win of the new campaign but manager Mick McDermott says Tuesday evening's comeback draw should provide belief that his side are on the right path.
The Glens were 2-0 down to Coleraine with 20 minutes to play at the Oval but, aided by James McLaughlin's 71st minute red card, roared back with goals from Hrvoje Plum and Paul O'Neill to snatch a point.
It was a bright end to a night that started with smiles all round as supporters were treated to limited edition merchandise at the Glens' first home game of the campaign.
Home fans were presented with special #TimetoClimb wristbands while season ticket holders picked up scarves.
The Oval's terracing has also been spruced up and, McDermott says, there are more changes coming.
More importantly, he's hoping the closing stages on the pitch backed up the feeling that the climb has begun.
"The performance of the fans was the only thing that surpassed the performance of the team," he told GlensTV.
"It's really good to see the fans coming out in numbers on a Tuesday night. There is a real feeling the team is going somewhere and with a performance like that last 30 minutes, it gives the fans a belief there's a platform to build on.
"The performance shows the fans and the players that we're moving in the right direction.
"There have been a lot of changes inside the stadium with locker rooms and gyms. We're trying to upgrade the place so that the players have more of a professional experience when they're working.
"There will be further upgrades around the pitch in the coming weeks so that there's a better experience for the fans as well. It's a step to show that the investment is serious.
"We're investing in players, staff, facilities, everything that we're doing. It will take small steps along the way. We knew it would be a building process but the priority is to get the playing part right to get the fans back in and thank them for their years of support."
McDermott admits that picking up only two points against two teams that were down to 10 men isn't the start he had envisaged in terms of results but he's optimistic that the best is yet to come, with his new recruits still bedding in.
"We've had to put them in slowly, some of them missed huge chunks of pre-season," he said. "Hrvoje is adjusting to the league but I thought he was excellent. I know what he can do. The players see it in training. He's deadly from those areas. It's nice that one went in.
"There were some great performances from the likes of Hrvoje (Plum), Thomas Byrne, Mal Smith, Paddy McCean on his first start.
"We've had to balance fitness levels and build our playing style. What's really good is that we can change a lot, systems, players, bring in quality for quality. To be able to see the likes of Curtis Allen and Calum Birney on the bench, that's a real positive for the club at the minute.
"We know it's a long season but we're looking at our squad at the minute thinking over the course of the 40 plus games, we're going to be alright."
Belfast Telegraph Digital