Glentoran have made visiting Oval a daunting prospect once again, says McDermott
Glentoran boss Mick McDermott has never attended an Irish Cup final and he hopes to put that right in 2020.
The rejuvenated east Belfast side have stretched their unbeaten run to 14 games and when you're difficult to beat, a Cup run is a realistic prospect.
Sitting only three points off Premiership pacesetters Cliftonville, the Glens are unlikely title challengers at this stage of the campaign but the Irish Cup remains the more likely door to Europe for the players, who are being superbly guided by McDermott and Paul Millar.
Morale, confidence and belief are growing on Mersey Street, and Portadown will not relish their trip to The Oval today.
The showdown is a repeat of the 2015 final when the Ports felt big decisions didn't go their way and David Scullion slotted in the winner.
Matthew Tipton's Championship leaders pose a threat but teams are starting to fear the Glens and that suggests this sleeping giant could spring to life.
There's an old rivalry between the clubs which adds even more spice to the clash and McDermott will never take anything for granted.
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"Cup matches are Cup matches and it's hard to know what way they will go," he said.
"There's a reason why gambling men make money on the FA Cup every year by betting on the underdogs.
"There are always upsets and that's why people love the Cup.
"It's massive as it's another route into Europe but we have a big game mentality now for every challenge.
"They are all massive from this point forward, there's no hiding from that.
"You can lose a match so you can't think of it as being the end of the world.
"We will stumble at some stage but we will get up again and keep going.
"You can stagger but as long as you don't get knocked down.
"I've never been to the Irish Cup final.
"I've participated in a few finals in other leagues and been lucky to win but I've never attended an Irish Cup final, I've been away for too long.
"I'm aware there's always been a sharp rivalry between the two clubs, and also how important the Cup has been to Glentoran and our supporters over the past few decades."
Fresh faces Keith Cowan and Ciaran O'Connor are available for the Glens this afternoon.
"Our goal remains the same, to be competitive and make teams worry about playing us rather than us worrying about anyone," added McDermott.
"In the past it was said Linfield are coming, it's a big game, Warrenpoint are coming, it's not a big game but we want those days to be gone.
"Every team that comes to The Oval is going to worry about us and we have put ourselves in a position where all games are big games.
"The players have put us in that position.
"Our major goal was to be competitive and I think now teams are worried about playing Glentoran.
"The travelling support we had at Dungannon on New Year's Day was a testament to how pleased our supporters are with our progress and we'll do everything we can for them."
The Glens tabled a bid for striker Michael O'Connor, which Linfield rejected.
"If nothing materialises then we will look at our other options," added the Glens chief. "That's where we are at right now."