Belfast Telegraph

It's not crazy for Carrick to set sights high, insists Surgenor

Glentoran 1 Carrick Rangers 1

By Alex Mills

Versatile Mark Surgenor has labelled Carrick Rangers as the Irish League's Crazy Gang.

They were tipped for relegation before the new Danske Bank Premiership season, but Surgenor believes they can prove people wrong.

A battling 1-1 draw against unbeaten Glentoran at The Oval would certainly suggest that Carrick are up for a fight.

Even though defender Ross Redman shot Gary Haveron's team into a first-half lead, the visitors were level 40 seconds after the restart courtesy of a Lee Chapman header - and they may well have gone on to win it.

Carrick escaped relegation with little to spare last season, but Surgenor insists they'll be more comfortable this year.

"When teams play us, they will know exactly what they are going to get," said the former Ballymena United man. "We like set-pieces, we take long throw-ins. If teams don't deal with it, we'll break them down.

"We are not the best team on the eye, we are not the silkiest side, but we'll be effective. It's a bit like the old Wimbledon team, the Crazy Gang.

"We make no apologies about it. If teams want to take points off Carrick this season, they are going to have to work for them."

Surgenor credits new boss Davy McAlinden for the side's new-found confidence.

He said: "It's a brand new set of players, 16 players in total. It's a bit like Jose Mourinho - if you are 6ft-plus, Davy will be interested. There are no egos in our team. No individual is better than the other. But we are going to work hard and we are going to push every team.

"We've been away to Windsor Park, home to Ballymena and away to The Oval, which is a difficult start for any side.

"Yes, we would have liked more points, but there is a lot to build on. The great thing is that no one is talking about Carrick.

"That simply helps drive the boys on. We've been written off from the start, but that suits us.

"We are not the Carrick of last season. There is a new grit and a new steel about us. I think we will get a bit of credit some day."

Meanwhile, Glens boss Haveron accused his boys of dropping their standards.

"We got the two results (against Dungannon Swifts and Ballinamallard United) because we worked really hard - I don't think we worked as hard against Carrick," he stressed. "I think the energy we exerted in our first two games took its toll, I thought we looked a little bit jaded. We just didn't hit the same heights. I don't think any of our boys did enough in the second half.

"We have to pick points up at home this season."

Glentoran: Morris, Kane, Birney, Allen, McGuigan, McMullan (Knowles73), Davidson (Delaney 58), Kerr, McNicholl (McDaid 69), Redman, Ferrin.

Carrick Rangers: Doherty, McMullan (Smyth 49), McNally, Gage, Edgar, Surgenor, Taggart (Morrow 78), Clarke, Chapman, Roy (Maybin 66), A Mooney.

Referee: Tim Marshall

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