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Burns is eager to make his a double


Main man: Aaron Burns hails his hat-trick in the 3-0 Irish Cup semi-final win over Lurgan Celtic

Main man: Aaron Burns hails his hat-trick in the 3-0 Irish Cup semi-final win over Lurgan Celtic

Main man: Aaron Burns hails his hat-trick in the 3-0 Irish Cup semi-final win over Lurgan Celtic

Linfield midfielder Aaron Burns believes his team are primed for an end of season trophy assault. The Blues may not have had their hands on major silverware for four years, but they are now the only team capable of clinching the double this season.

David Healy's boys swatted away the challenge of Lurgan Celtic at Windsor Park on Saturday to book a slot in the Tennent's Irish Cup final against Glenavon on May 7.

But before that, Burns and his team-mates have unfinished business to attend to as they strive to bring the Danske Bank Premiership title back to south Belfast. Even though they trail champions and leaders Crusaders by five points, things could change dramatically next week when the Blues make the short journey across town to Seaview.

"It's all to play for," said Burns, who grabbed a second-half hat-trick in the 3-0 victory over Lurgan Celtic. "We would like to be closer to Crusaders. We missed a few chances to close the gap.

"But we have five big games remaining. Anything can happen. The top six are up there for a reason. Any of those sides can beat the other. Next week is a massive game. I don't think it's a title decider, but it could be a title pointer. It will definitely have a big impact on where the Gibson Cup will go."

Burns is thrilled to be involved in another cup final. He said: "I've never started in an Irish Cup final. I was only 19 on our last appearance. I came on as a sub (in the win over Crusaders).

"So I'm looking forward to hopefully getting a starting shirt.

"Glenavon are a great side. We have found it difficult to play against them. They are flying. We'll do our homework on Glenavon - but someone has got to stop Kevin Braniff!"

It may have taken the Blues an hour to forge ahead when Burns flicked home a Kirk Millar cross, but the result was never in doubt after that. He struck again when he lashed in a Stephen Lowry free-kick before finishing the job from the spot.

"We didn't play very well in the first-half," Burns added. "We were told at half-time to be patient, calm down and forget about the first 45 minutes.

"The gaffer said our quality and our fitness levels would prevail - thankfully they did.

"There was a certain amount of frustration that crept into our game. I think it is because we've been playing really well over the past few weeks and we have been able to blow teams away. Lurgan Celtic played five across the back and frustrated us."

Lurgan Celtic boss Colin Malone hailed the brave performance of his Championship One side.

"I couldn't have asked for any more - they were terrific," he said. "People now know what we are all about. The cup has been a fairytale, but the club's long-term aim is to perform at the top level on a regular basis.

"We were promoted last year and we've exceeded expectations. We've gone into Championship One and performed well and we're third with everything to play for in terms of the title. We've talked about pushing on. We have players targeted and we've already brought better players to the club this season."

Linfield: Ross Glendinning, Haughey, Callacher, Waterworth (Moore 90), Lowry, Millar (Quinn 67), Burns, Ward, Clarke, Mulgrew, Smyth (Fallon 82). Subs not used: Bates, Reece Glendinning.

Lurgan Celtic: O'Neill, Wilson, Rodgers, Hutchinson, Cochrane (McCabe 87), Malone, Barton, McVeigh, Fitzpatrick ( S Devlin 75), Haire, Conaty (N Devlin 75). Subs not used: Seeley, O'Hara.

Referee: Mervyn Smyth (Belfast).

Belfast Telegraph