Belfast Telegraph

I honestly think understrength Glentoran can pile more woe on Linfield: Morris

Linfield v Glentoran, Co Antrim Shield Quarter-Final, Windsor Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

By Alex Mills

Goalkeeper Elliott Morris insists Glentoran will approach tonight's County Antrim Shield showdown against Linfield at Windsor Park in a positive frame of mind - despite being depleted by suspensions.

Ronnie McFall's boys are coming off the back of a controversial defeat by Glenavon at the weekend when they finished the game with only eight men on the pitch.

In fact, they were forced to play for 60 minutes with only nine men after losing John Herron and Calum Birney in the first half.

Former Celtic man Herron can certainly feel hard done by following a challenge on the impressive Mark Sykes, but Birney can have no complaints after a horrible tackle on the same player.

Then, late on, defender Willie Garrett took the walk of shame along with Glenavon's Rhys Marshall after the pair clashed off the ball.

Veteran shot-stopper Morris, however, believes the Glens will come out fighting in the correct manner in tonight's intriguing Big Two clash.

"The performance against Glenavon will help galvanise the squad, there is no doubt about that," he said. "Yes, we'll be missing a few against Linfield - I don't know how many centre-backs we have left.

"I think our skipper Marcus Kane may have to play in the back four, he was missing on Saturday because of injury.

"We are not going to be downbeat ahead of the Blues game, we are not going to beat ourselves up after what happened at the weekend. We are going to get on with it.

"We'll be going into this game thinking we are going to win it. I honestly think we can win it.

"Linfield had been on a fantastic run, but they lost for the first time at Ards on Saturday, which proves they are beatable.

"It will be a tough game. Defensively, Linfield are very good, but we'll approach the game with a good, positive mindset."

Although Glentoran have shown great improvement this season in terms of performances, Morris reckons there is still a long way to go.

"We have been getting a lot of praise lately after some good results - perhaps it was a little bit premature," he added.

"We are in a building process at the club. There is still a lot of work to be done.

"The Glentoran supporters know when you've given your all. I don't think anyone could accuse us of not giving our all against Glenavon, we tried desperately hard but we just came up short.

"We'll go into Tuesday's game with attitude. Linfield beat us earlier in the season but it wasn't a good game.

"It was live on Sky, so players were wary of making a mistake. There was probably more pressure on both sides.

"But we could have drawn the game quite easily. There was nothing in it. It was (Joel) Cooper's individual run that opened us up to create the winning goal for (Michael) O'Connor, but that was it.

"Although the Shield is probably the least important of the four domestic trophies, it makes no difference, it's a Big Two game regardless of what competition it is.

"They beat us last time out for the first time in four games, so there is no reason why we can't get a positive result."

Reflecting on Saturday's debacle at The Oval, Morris added: "Dishing out a red card so early, the referee (Keith Kennedy) made it quite hard for himself.

"The first one was not a red card. The ball was coming over Herron's shoulder and he didn't see Sykes - he was obviously stretching for it.

"It was a 50-50 incident, possibly a yellow card at the most. There was no intent from Herron.

"The second one involving Birney was a definite red. I must be honest, it didn't look good. I don't know what happened with Willie and Marshall at the end.

"Glenavon must have had 80 per cent of the ball. But we somehow managed to get two unbelievable chances in the final few minutes. Some of the boys believe Willie's second header was over the line by a good distance apparently.

"It could have been so different, we actually could have won the game.

"But you can't argue with stats, that's three games in a row we've lost. We go into Tuesday's game perhaps a little bit down, but the manager said we showed a lot of heart and character with our performance.

"We must stick together. We'll be going to Windsor Park to get a result."

As for David Healy, the game is the perfect opportunity to exorcise the ghosts of Saturday's defeat.

"If the players can't lift themselves for this match they may as well jack it in," said Healy.

"It's my job to have the team ready and prepared, and we have to put in a better performance than we did at Ards."

Belfast Telegraph

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