Belfast Telegraph

Why Shayne Lavery's one of the best strikers in the business, says Linfield team-mate Joel Cooper

Linfield 7 Glenavon 0

Floodgates open: Shayne Lavery celebrates with Joel Cooper after setting Linfield on their way
Floodgates open: Shayne Lavery celebrates with Joel Cooper after setting Linfield on their way

By Alex Mills

Midfield maestro Joel Cooper believes there is a lot more than goals to Shayne Lavery's game.

The 21-year-old striker bagged a sensational 10-minute hat-trick in Linfield's thumping seven-goal win over Glenavon at Windsor Park on Saturday.

Bastien Hery also opened his account for the club, while Cooper, Jimmy Callacher and Andy Waterworth ensured Gary Hamilton's boys would leave the international venue battered and bruised at the end of a relentless mauling.

But it was Lavery's quick-fire treble - between the fourth and 14th minutes - that put the smile on the faces of the Linfield faithful.

The former Everton and Falkirk man picked the perfect time to produce his party piece with Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill due to name his squad for the Euro qualifier against the Netherlands next month.

"Shayne does all his talking on the pitch," beamed Cooper.

"To score a hat-trick in the first 14 minutes of any game was unbelievable - three shots, three goals. It's not only his goals, Shayne's work rate is phenomenal. He chases defenders, closes the ball down, he chases lost causes.

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"His all-round game has been magnificent. Shayne gives us a different dimension going forward because he has lightning pace. His hold-up game is also great.

"He's hungry to score goals - that's the sign of a good striker. He was actually disappointed he didn't get four because he had a header cleared off the line in the second-half.

"There are not many strikers that has the ability he has. I'm sure he'll be attracting interest across the water. For now, he's here, but he can push on and make a big statement in this league."

Cooper reckons this performance sends out a clear message that the Blues are once again in title mode.

He added: "We'll not get many better days than this. It was an excellent performance, right from minute one.

"The early goal helped to settle us and eased us into it. We were three up inside the first 14 minutes, which killed off Glenavon.

"We were happy the way we started and we didn't want to take our foot off the gas. Although we were winning by four goals, the gaffer had a word with us at half-time, just to make sure our mindset was right.

"We knew Glenavon would have a reaction but, again, we dealt with it well, but we were determined to push on."

LINFIELD: Ferguson, Stafford, Callacher, Cooper (Shevlin, 75 mins), Millar, Lavery (Reynolds, 69 mins), Clarke, Fallon, Hery (Waterworth, 65 mins), Mulgrew, Quinn. Unused subs: Deane, Larkin, McGivern, Mitchell.

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Burns, Doyle (Wearen, 69 mins), Marshall, Mitchell (Murray, 56 mins), Hall, Harmon, McCloskey (Marron, 27 mins), O'Mahony, Singleton, Garrett. Unused subs: Taylor, Larmour, Beggs, Murray, Jenkins.

Referee: Shane Andrews (Comber).

Man of the match: Shayne Lavery

Match rating: 8/10

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