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Glentoran left seeing red


Suspended motion: Gareth McKeown and Ciaran Caldwell mob Gary Hamilton after he struck to put Glenavon ahead

Suspended motion: Gareth McKeown and Ciaran Caldwell mob Gary Hamilton after he struck to put Glenavon ahead

Suspended motion: Gareth McKeown and Ciaran Caldwell mob Gary Hamilton after he struck to put Glenavon ahead

Call it typical Irish League behaviour, call it football's capacity to write an extraordinary script but Gary Hamilton's 13-minute first half double will have the punters talking for some time.

Glentoran had started like a house on fire on a miserable wet afternoon but it was Hamilton, who feared he would serve a suspension on Saturday, who rained on the east Belfast side's parade.

It was thought he had netted a quickfire hat-trick but the player-boss later admitted Rhys Marshall's effort had crossed the line before he produced the last touch.

But Hamilton's dazzling display only served to deepen Glentoran's anger and the club are now seeking clarification from the Irish FA why the former Northern Ireland international was allowed to feature in the game.

Hamilton was sent off by referee Mervyn Smyth while on the touchline during last weekend's defeat to Linfield and it was thought he must serve an automatic one-match ban as a player as he was named among the substitutes but the IFA said he was dismissed in his primary role as a manager and was handed a one-match touchline suspension from Monday, November 24.

Glens chairman Stephen Henderson and boss Eddie Patterson both felt Hamilton should have been banned for the fixture. Henderson said: "We are considering our options but we believe this is an open and shut case based on the Irish FA disciplinary rules and the Fifa laws of the game.

"Article 2.1 of the Irish FA's disciplinary code specifically states a player is a person whose name appears on the match day card for the relevant match. Mr Hamilton was a player in last week's fixture.

"Law 12 of the laws of the game specially states that a red card is used to communicate that a player, substitute or substituted player has been sent off.

"Only a player, substitute or substituted player may be shown the red or yellow card.

"We would be interested to know what the referee has said to the IFA. We may submit an objection for an ineligible player being played in this fixture."

Patterson added: "In my opinion a red card means that Gary was dealt with as a player and that constitutes an automatic one-match ban. From my point of view I'd like to know how they determined he should be dealt with as a manager.

"Andy Todd (Linfield assistant who was also sent off) was dealt with as an official of Linfield while Gary was dealt with as a player. That's it in black and white."

Glenavon maintain that they received confirmation from the Irish FA that Hamilton was eligible for the fixture.

Hamilton stated: "I think the correct decision was made and if not it is not fair on me and Warren (Feeney)."

The former Glentoran favourite added: "The first 20 minutes we were poor. We stood off them, let them play and deservedly went 2-0 down.

"I always felt if we scored before half-time we would go on and win the game."

But there is some bad news on the way for Glenavon as William Murphy and Shane McCabe are both expected to be handed two-match bans by the Irish FA following their critical comments of referee Mervyn Smyth after the Linfield game.

The bans will begin the week commencing Monday, November 24.

Glens fans may ask why was Hamilton allowed to feature but in the same breath they should question how their side threw away a two goal advantage in shocking fashion.

Injuries to Jay Magee (calf) and Jim O'Hanlon (hamstring) clearly shaped their destiny but Patterson needs more players in his ranks who can make an impact like Hamilton.

The Glens began the goal feast on three minutes with Curtis Allen heading home from Niall Henderson's free-kick.

Allen blasted a drive over the woodwork but it was 2-0 in the 11th minute after Jordan Stewart produced a stunning curling finish.

The home side were sizzling but inconsistency has been a feature of their performances and the resilient Lurgan Blues found some fighting spirit.

Gareth McKeown's cross on 34 minutes was knocked into Hamilton's path by Ciaran Caldwell and the player-boss swept the ball into the net.

Two minutes later a McKeown free-kick was chested across goal by Marshall and crossed the goal line before Hamilton provided the final touch.

But Glenavon and Hamilton were only warming up. After Caldwell's shot flashed wide of the target, Hamilton netted his second two minutes into first half stoppage time; his shot deflecting off Barry Holland and sailed into the net.

The second half served up considerably less excitement but Kyle Neill's stunning 72nd minute strike rubbed salt into Glentoran's wounds.

Belfast Telegraph