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Irish Cup Final: Bailie’s bow not a last farewell to Linfield

Noel Bailie will make a final bow in front of an Irish League audience today and an Irish Cup final appearance is a fitting tribute to the legend.

It will be an emotional farewell to ‘the skipper’ as a player but Linfield want Bailie to remain at Windsor Park next season as his wealth of experience will be an invaluable asset as David Jeffrey’s side go chasing more silverware.

Blues midfielder Michael Gault is thrilled Bailie’s ties with the club will not be cut after today’s clash with Crusaders.

“Noel and Glenn Ferguson are the two best players that I have played alongside and it’s always great when you are working with legends,” said Gault.

“It would be great if Noel could stay on in some capacity and I know the players, staff and supporters would welcome that.

“It can only be a good thing for Linfield — his experience, particularly in the defence over a very long period of time — is second to none. Noel staying on can only help Linfield’s chances of securing more success.

“The skipper has been there and done it all. He has always been a positive influence.”

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Regardless of the destination of the Irish Cup this afternoon, there is huge relief at Windsor Park that the Gibson Cup is going nowhere.

The club’s 125th anniversary celebrations would have been muted if the title mission failed.

“It’s been high pressure all year, all we have heard about is the 50th title in the 125th anniversary year,” added Gault.

“Everyone knew it was a massive year for the club and the players felt that pressure. The fans will be shocked now if we don’t do the double now.”

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