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Niall Quinn hat-trick means one Linfield staff member has to ‘hand out’ but boss delighted for ‘Mr Consistent’


Niall Quinn celebrates his first Linfield treble. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Niall Quinn celebrates his first Linfield treble. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Niall Quinn celebrates his first Linfield treble. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Niall Quinn’s hat-trick against Dundela on Tuesday night was great news for everyone at Linfield… except one member of staff.

That’s according to manager David Healy, who watched his side see off their Championship visitors 6-1 at Windsor Park with Jimmy Callacher and Ahmed Salam also on target after Andrew Clarke bagged his first goal for the club.

Kitman Gary Eccles is a popular part of the furniture at the Blues but Healy joked that he wouldn’t have been happy to see Quinn’s third strike hit the net.

"With a hat-trick comes a brand new ball and Gary’s always moaning about us running out of balls,” the boss told the Linfield website. “He’ll have to hand out, unfortunately for him and pleasingly for Quinny, a brand new ball. It’s well deserved.”

It’s Quinn’s first ever treble for the club taking his overall tally to 26 goals in 323 games and the boss himself couldn’t have been more pleased.

"Probably nobody but Quinny himself,” Healy laughed, when asked who would have predicted the hat-trick.

"He’s been a remarkable servant to the club. For me personally, he never underperforms, never lets me down.

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"People at Linfield call him Mr Consistent and he’s earned the right for that because of not only the capabilities he has a player but everything he gives to the squad and the club.

"I’ve always said that he’s been the flag-bearer for our Academy. When he came through, he was one of the shining lights so I’m delighted for him.

"He’s had a tough start to the season with the injury he sustained in pre-season. It’s great to have him back over the last two or three games. I’m really pleased for him.”

It was also a landmark night for Jimmy Callacher, who took the captain’s armband for his 300th club appearance since joining from rivals Glentoran in January 2014 and marked the occasion with a left-footed strike that rasped into the top corner from the edge of the box.

"I think I heard a supporter from the North Stand shouting down what they thought of it,” said Healy. “It was a wonderful goal. He’s been a good servant for the club. I wanted him to skipper the team tonight because it’s important, with the effort, quality and appearances he’s made for the club, that he captained the team during his 300th game.”

Healy had made nine changes from Saturday’s league win at Warrenpoint Town, only Callacher and Sam Roscoe keeping their places in the starting line-up, and explained that squad management was more important than ever after the club’s move to full-time football.

"People need to understand, our own supporters at times and people who associate themselves with Linfield, that we’ve only made the change over summer. It’s not going to happen overnight,” he said.

"We need to be careful with the amount of hard work we’re trying to do and manage some of the players. For example, Trai Hume at 19 has played a huge amount of games and four tough internationals so we can’t just take the chance.

"If we play him week in, week out, he’s going to end up breaking down and we’re not going to see the quality that we know Trai has.

"We need to be careful.”

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