| 7.2°C Belfast

'Glentoran will be ready, make no mistake': Mick McDermott looks ahead to Big Two derby against Linfield after win over Portadown

Glentoran 2 Portadown 1


Paddy McClean celebrates after scoring Glentoran’s first goal against Portadown

Paddy McClean celebrates after scoring Glentoran’s first goal against Portadown


Paddy McClean celebrates after scoring Glentoran’s first goal against Portadown

His team may still be labouring in the bottom half of the table, but Glentoran manager Mick McDermott insists they'll be in tip-top shape for Saturday's Big Two blockbuster against Linfield at Windsor Park.

The east Belfast side, however, will need to improve dramatically if their showing against struggling Portadown at the Oval on Saturday night is anything to go by.

Even though they got off to the best possible start, scoring twice in the opening 12 minutes, by the time referee Tim Marshall brought things to a halt, McDermott's side were grimly hanging on for the three points.

Defender Paddy McClean needed only eight minutes to break the deadlock, striding forward to meet Hrvoje Plum's exquisitely delivered free kick and his header - the ball actually came off his shoulder - looped over the outstretched glove of Ben Pierce.

Four minutes later Plum was at it again. This time he picked up a throw in from new signing Rhys Marshall, cut past Ben Tilney before firing in a low cross that Pierce could only parry into the path of Jay Donnelly, who slotted home.

It was an advantage Glentoran held until 10 minutes from the end when substitute Adam Salley swivelled on a corner kick from Oisin Conaty which was knocked down by defender Adam McCallum, and his shot fizzed past Roy Brown.

Suddenly, the swagger disappeared from the Glentoran performance. There were little glimpses of panic, especially when their opponents surged forward looking for an equaliser that had looked highly unlikely only minutes earlier.

"We required better game management," admitted McDermott. "We played some really good football in the first half. It was the first time we played that system (three at the back) to allow Rhys (Marshall) to come in for his debut.

"He now gives us that option. We created six or seven good chances in the first half, Hrvoje's deliveries were right on the money and the goals we got were good. But I knew Portadown would regroup at half time.

"I told the boys to expect a reaction. We still created chances, but there was a spell when they came at us and got a bit of belief from it. There are moments in games that turn the tide.

"We had a clear penalty shout turned away and the corner kick they were awarded for their goal wasn't even over the line. Things like that change the momentum of the game. That's not an excuse. We needed to manage the second half a lot better.

"Everyone knows how football works, if you don't put the game to bed you can become a little bit anxious."

McDermott insists his lads will require little motivation for next week's Windsor showdown.

"Nothing beats a Big Two game," he adds. "There will be no motivation needed, we'll be ready, make no mistake about that."

Portadown chief Matthew Tipton was happy the way his team recovered their composure after shipping those early goals.

"I think we can grow on this performance I honestly do," he said. "I don't like losing, but I know I have something to build on, especially if we can develop a little bit more belief in ourselves.

"People must remember, this is a Portadown team that has just been promoted after spending three years in the Championship. The name itself probably carries a lot of weight. It was another learning curve for us."

GLENTORAN: Brown, Kane, McCullough, Bigirimana, Gallagher (Gorman 76), McDaid, McClean, Marron, Plum, Marshall, J Donnelly (O'Neill 78). Unused subs: McDonagh, R Donnelly, Clucas, O'Connor, Coleing.

PORTADOWN: Pierce, Hall, McCallum, Finnegan, Tipton (McKeown 67), Bonis, Murray (Salley 61), Wilson, Teggart (Conaty 67), Healy, Tilney. Unused subs: Pengelly, Lavery, Kerr, Carmichael.

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown).

Match rating: 5/10.

Man of the match: Ben Pierce.

Belfast Telegraph