Belfast Telegraph

"The best team won": David Healy insists it was the right result at Windsor Park

Linfield's manager David Healy celebrates Kirk Millar's winning goal in today's Big Two derby at Windsor Park (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Linfield's manager David Healy celebrates Kirk Millar's winning goal in today's Big Two derby at Windsor Park (David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Linfield boss insists that "the best team won" as his side edged a fantastic Big Two derby 1-0 at Windsor Park.

Kirk Millar's goal three minutes from time decided a nervy and tightly contested first Big Two clash of the season, however it could have easily gone either way.

Elvio van Overbeek had an opportunity just before the break for the Glens, Robbie McDaid had a great chance from a header while John Herron struck the crossbar just before Millar decided it at the other end.

However, Healy is insistent that the one-goal win for his Blues was the right result on the basis of overall play at the national stadium.

"We had to be patient today but I thought the best team won. People might disagree, but we had the best spells in the game and we took our chances," claimed Healy.

"We dug in and got our goal, so I'm happy with that and the clean sheet too. I said during the week how important Big Two games are.

"Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the moment but I don't think that happened today. We had to work hard, and to be fair to Glentoran they kept going and pushed us."

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The result keeps Linfield eighth in the league, however they have closed the gap on the top-six and, of course, still have three games in hand on the majority of their rivals.

It was fitting that it was Millar who scored the winner after he signed his long-term future to the club earlier in the week, with the midfielder finishing from 12 yards for the winner.

There was some great work done by Bastien Hery and Mark Stafford to create the opportunity for Millar, who sent the home support into raptures when his finish beat Marijan Antolovic.

"These games are always so open but we were the team who took our chance and left with the points, it was the perfect time to score," beamed Millar.

"I think every time you play the Glens, it's a Big Two game, it's a massive game. It's who wants it more and we got the three points.

"The confidence is high. We had a good run but that's over now, we're concentrating on the league and we want to get back into the swing of things. We got the win at Cliftonville and now here, so that's good."

It's evidence of how much improving that Glentoran have done this season already that they pushed the defending champions all the way in their own home.

Although they didn't come away with any points for their efforts, and drop to fifth in the table, manager Mick McDermott was delighted with the performance as his much-changed team continues to gel.

"We knew it would be a tense match and end-to-end stuff. We have to give credit to Linfield, but I thought our players did really well," said The Oval chief.

"The margins in this game are tiny, if Robbie McDaid's header goes in then it is a different game. Everyone is a disappointed but we're satisfied with how we performed."

"Both sides would have settled for a draw in the last five minutes. We're still trying to gel so there are positives today. We have a settled squad and they're starting to play well now."

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