Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran fans sparked Oval comeback against Coleraine, says McDermott

Keen eye: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott watches the action
during Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Coleraine at the Oval
Keen eye: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott watches the action during Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Coleraine at the Oval
Hrvoje Plum
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Mick McDermott believes the mood is starting to change around Glentoran.

It has been a turbulent few years for one of local football's most famous clubs, but the opening days of the season have hinted at better times ahead.

A summer takeover, exciting new signings and two encouraging performances have given fans reasons to be hopeful.

Tuesday night's game at home to Coleraine - which saw the Glens come from 2-0 down to take a point - was played out in front of a big crowd, and McDermott is optimistic that they can bring back some of the feel-good factor which has been lost in recent years.

"It was nice to see the effort shown by the players to get the point and what really got us going was the crowd," he said.

"I don't think there has been a crowd like that at The Oval in a long time, and I am happy to see that.

"The fans have probably left with a little bit of hope that we have a team that can do something this year."

It is more than a decade since the Glens last won the title, and they haven't finished in the top half of the table since the 2015/16 season, but a much-needed cash injection and some exciting signings have lifted the mood.

One of the new arrivals, Croatian midfielder Hrvoje Plum, was outstanding in Tuesday night's comeback against Coleraine.

McDermott believes there is a lot more to come from him and the team.

"He is outstanding and he's just getting into the swing of it. He will improve week by week," he added.

"John Herron and Joe Crowe were excellent, Thomas Byrne too.

"You look at players like Robbie McDaid, Darren Murray, Mal Smith - and we could have changed three or four in the line-up.

"That is the hardest job I have now - not only choosing the XI but choosing the 18.

"We have players out of the 18 that have played 150, 200 games in the league. It's a nice luxury or headache to have.

"That is why, second game of the season and with two points on the table, we are probably disappointed, although I am happy with the performances."

After opening the season with a 1-1 draw at Glenavon, fans arrived in hope for Tuesday night's Oval clash.

But their optimism was tested as, despite some promising play, the Glens found themselves 2-0 down to Coleraine.

Eoin Bradley scored from the penalty spot before Aaron Canning headed in the second.

But the dismissal of James McLaughlin in the 72nd minute changed the game.

Plum brought Glentoran back into it with a stunning free-kick, before sub Paul O'Neill levelled late on.

McDermott added: "To go 2-0 down was clearly disappointing but for the team to fight back the way they did was really impressive.

"Of course the red card was a factor, but sometimes playing against 10 men is harder, like we saw against Glenavon on Friday. Teams dig in and deny you space and room to play.

"Coleraine, same situation, but the way we added players and changed systems meant we created enough space to create chances.

"It was brilliant to get the second goal.

"Overall I'm really happy with the performance and the effort and the commitment, but disappointed with the result."

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