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Glentoran striker Robbie McDaid: £200k jackpot would help us aim for top again

By Graham Luney

Glentoran striker Robbie McDaid believes his side can peak at the right time this season and pocket the bumper £200,000 on offer for reaching the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

Cliftonville will be a tough nut to crack at Solitude in this afternoon's play-off decider but the Glens, managed by caretaker boss Ronnie McFall, have their tails up after that stunning 4-3 comeback success against Linfield at Windsor Park.

After a turbulent season which saw the east Belfast side part company with manager Gary Haveron and slip down to seventh place in the Premiership, European football would represent a fairytale finish for the club.

And with a new manager set to be appointed, the cash injection would give the Glens a platform to build for the future, with the aim of challenging for the game's top honours again.

European football isn't just about the money - there's a prestige attached to it and it's a great bonding opportunity for the squad as well as their development as players.

McDaid, the son of John McDaid, who as a teenage centre forward came through the ranks at Glentoran to force his way into McFall's great squad of the early 1980s, is now relishing the Reds battle after rocking the Blues.

"It's a huge game, massive for the club," admitted the 21-year-old, who joined the Glens last August.

"We have known all season we possess the quality to trouble teams but we haven't done that enough on a regular and consistent basis. We have a young team, and it's the first time we are playing together, but the boys are a lot closer and have a better understanding of one another now.

"Even at half-time against Linfield when we were 1-0 down, we felt we were the better side and no one panicked. There was plenty of time to cause them problems and so it proved.

"What a way to finish the season - the club have been in turmoil for a few years and there's been a lot of stuff involving managers and supporters which hasn't been great.

"I'm one of the younger players who was never around when that negative vibe was happening. All you can do is concentrate on your job as much as possible and if we can secure the extra European money it will make the Glentoran job an attractive one for the next manager, and a club this size should be competing at that level.

"You just have to look around football to realise that money can buy you success. Whether it's the Premier League where the two Manchester clubs finished in the top two, or the Irish League where Crusaders have come into money, it helps clubs push on and become successful.

"This is a family club and if we can secure European football it would be a massive boost for the club and supporters."

The Omagh goal-getter is now focusing on shooting down the Reds, who last week lost the Irish Cup final to Coleraine.

"We know what Cliftonville are about, they have quality in abundance and are still probably getting over the disappointment of losing the Irish Cup final," added McDaid. "You just don't know how they are going to react after that game, it can light a fire in you, and a wounded animal is a dangerous animal."

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