Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran players must prove their worth, says Millar as Smyth and Leeman absent from Stangmore victory

Dungannon Sw 1 Glentoran 2

New faces: Glentoran’s Mick McDermott (left) and Paul Millar at Stangmore Park on Saturday
New faces: Glentoran’s Mick McDermott (left) and Paul Millar at Stangmore Park on Saturday

By Steven Beacom

Glentoran coach Paul Millar has told the players to show the new management team at the Oval they deserve to be part of what he believes will be a bright future for the club.

With Mick McDermott replacing Gary Smyth as boss and a takeover imminent, which would see over £1 million invested in the east Belfast outfit in the first year, a host of new arrivals are expected next season, but Millar says the existing players will have a chance in the remaining games of this season's campaign to impress.

They may not have produced the slickest of displays on Saturday at Dungannon Swifts but the Glens fought hard to win 2-1 with goals in either half from Curtis Allen and Darren Murray after Paul McElroy had given the home side an early lead.

Douglas Wilson was sent off for two bookable offences in the second half and, although Kris Lindsay's men battled to earn a point, it was Glentoran who claimed victory to remain in seventh position in the table - stay there and they'll be in the European play-offs come the end of the campaign.

While McDermott, Millar and Kieran Harding were in the Glens dug-out on Saturday, Smyth and his assistant Paul Leeman did not attend the game though the Oval outfit insisted the two legends had not left the club. Whether that changes this week remains to be seen.

Millar, previously a player and manager at the Oval, agreed to become McDermott's assistant last week and had an immediate message for the team.

"I spoke to the players when I came in and told them we don't want anyone to leave and you have the rest of the season to show us you want to stay," he said.

"If they show they want to come with us they can and we'll bring other players in to strengthen the squad because we need to do that if we are to achieve what we want to achieve."

Ultimately that is to win the league for the first time since the late, great Alan McDonald guided the Glens to the Gibson Cup in 2009.

Millar suggests McDermott has a three-year plan to get there hitting milestones along the way such as the club going full-time. The former Glenavon coach adds that he wants the fans to support the financial investment on the way to the club and hopes the shareholders agree to the takeover at an upcoming EGM.

British-based entrepreneur Ali Shams Mohammad Pour, who hails from an Iranian family, is believed to be the man behind the big money deal which will see cash invested in new players and the Oval ground.

"It won't just be good for Glentoran, it will also be good for the Irish League because I believe Northern Ireland football needs a strong Glentoran," insisted Millar.

"Glentoran have been in the bottom half of the table all season bar a month and they are still the second best supported team in the country. With finance, will and the lift this can give everyone I believe we will get even more support.

"My message to fans is that we want them behind us. We are here to win trophies but right now our aim is to make the European play-offs."

DUNGANNON: Moore, Hegarty, Wilson, Clucas, Hughes, McElroy, Teggart, Lowe (Campbell, 86 mins), Hutchinson (Patton, 72 mins), Smyth, Carvill (Lafferty, 57 mins). Unused subs: Moran, Armstrong, Gallagher, Ferrin.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Garrett, Kane, C Gallagher, Herron, Allen, Kerr, Pepper (McDaid, 88 mins), Gordon, O'Neill, Murray (McMahon, 84 mins). Unused subs: McLaughlin, Gwiazda, S Gallagher, Smith, Glover.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge).

Man of the match: John Herron

Match rating: 7/10

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