Belfast Telegraph

Mick McDermott: I'm not keeping hotseat warm for Lindsay

 

New arrivals: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott and his assistant Paul Millar at Stangmore Park
New arrivals: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott and his assistant Paul Millar at Stangmore Park
Kris Lindsay

By Graham Luney

Mick McDermott has dismissed claims he could be prepared to step aside as Glentoran manager while the club make a move for Kris Lindsay.

There has been speculation that McDermott would prefer a Director of Football role at The Oval and Glens chiefs would consider appointing Lindsay as their boss.

With McDermott coming on board as manager and Paul Millar leaving Glenavon to become his assistant - while the futures of Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman remain uncertain - it's difficult to predict what will happen next in this east Belfast soap opera.

As club shareholders get ready to vote on a potential takeover, being led by wealthy businessman Ali Shams Mohammad Pour, it seemed that McDermott's arrival as manager was a necessary part of the new Glentoran jigsaw.

McDermott, who was assistant to Iran manager Carlos Queiroz at last year's World Cup, has the Pro Licence qualification needed to take charge in Europe unlike Smyth, the man he replaced in the dugout.

Millar, who is a director of the East (NO1) Ltd company hoping to complete the club takeover, has close links with Lindsay, having worked alongside the former Linfield defender for over six years at Glenavon.

Dungannon Swifts have insisted that Lindsay is under contract and going nowhere but if the Glens do make a move, the former Linfield defender will have a decision to make.

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McDermott, when asked about the speculation regarding a Director of Football role yesterday, said he was focused on the Glentoran manager's job.

"I've read so many stories in the last week or two, I don't even pick them up any more," said McDermott, who spent his early playing days at Cliftonville and Distillery.

"How old do they think I am? 70? I'm 45, not 65.

"I don't know where the stories come from.

"Kris is the manager of Dungannon and he has three massive games as I have as manager of Glentoran.

"It's the first I heard of it, reading it in the newspaper. Gary Hamilton's name has been mentioned too and he's manager of a successful club aiming to qualify for Europe again.

"Some of the stuff I hear belongs in La La Land.

"I don't know if people are trying to create drama around the club but we are focused on moving forward and winning our remaining games.

"All we can do is focus on what we need to do. The board, fans and players have been great and very supportive. I've no complaints at all and hopefully we can qualify for Europe."

Should the takeover proceed, an investment of £1.2m is expected to transform the club, with a move to full-time football on the agenda.

After a sticky start to the season under Rodney McAree, winning none of their first seven Premiership matches, Lindsay has led the Swifts up the table and into a challenge for the final Europa League play-off place.

They currently sit two places and two points behind seventh-placed Glentoran with two games remaining.

Dungannon chairman Keith Boyd said: "The first I heard of all this was when my phone started buzzing this morning.

"I was not aware of it and Kris was not aware of it.

"He is under contract at Dungannon Swifts and he's not going anywhere."

Lindsay, who was handed the top job at Stangmore Park in September, has impressed in his two-year coaching career so far and given his ties with Millar, a Glentoran move cannot be discounted.

But, for now, McDermott says he's staying put and Lindsay isn't commenting.

There's more drama to come on the pitch too with the Glens' chase for a Europa League play-off spot continuing at Newry City tomorrow night.

• Former Glentoran player Eamon Byrne has passed away. He was 78. The club stated: "We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife, Mary, and his sister, Dympna. Also to Eamon's children, Lorraine, Colm, Mark, Neal, Paul, Alan and Jason."

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