Belfast Telegraph

McDaid: it's my goal and I will always cherish it

By Alex Mills

Robbie McDaid has admitted playing a key role in the winner in Boxing Day's Big Two derby against Linfield was 'his best moment in football' - and he's claiming the strike, despite it officially going down as a Matthew Clarke own goal.

The 21-year-old McDaid sent one half of the 6,000 crowd into raptures when his effort hit Clarke and beat Roy Carroll deep into injury-time to earn Glentoran their first win in 14 outings against their fierce rivals at The Oval.

McDaid's Christmas cracker also all but ended the Blues' hopes of the Danske Bank Premiership title remaining at Windsor Park. David Healy's boys are now a staggering 15 points adrift of high-flying Coleraine.

It started so well for the Blues with Cameron Stewart shooting them into a first-half lead. But goals from Curtis Allen and McDaid's deflected strike earned the Glens a famous win.

"It was my goal," claimed McDaid. "My shot was on target, but Clarkie took a swipe at it and it ricocheted off his shin, but it was my goal - 100 per cent.

"It was a great time to score, right in the last minute. It gave them less time to score, although we thought they had nicked one right at the end but thankfully it was ruled out for offside.

"I would undoubtedly say that was the best moment I've ever had on the football pitch. I was naturally disappointed not to start the game, but to come on and score the winner in such a massive game was brilliant.

"Glentoran haven't won a Boxing Day game for six years, so it was just unbelievable.

"The fans have given us a bit of stick at times, and rightly so because we have had some disappointing results, especially at home. But they really got behind us. Linfield were tipped to win the title at the start of the season, so to go out and beat them is a statement by the players that we are all behind the manager and behind each other."

Incredibly, it was Glentoran's first home win in the league since September 2, and McDaid believes it could just be the spark to reignite their season.

"We are a young squad with lots of potential," he said. "We had a great start to the season, but we went off the boil. I suppose with such a young group you are going to get inconsistencies.

"Hopefully this is the start of something special. We have to kick on from this.

"I came into the team and hit the ground running. I think I scored three goals in my first four starts. It was a bit crazy. I've been disappointed with my form of late, but I'm still young and I'm still learning. This is probably my first season playing senior football week in, week out. As long as I can make a contribution to the team and the manager is happy, that's the most important thing."

Meanwhile, Glentoran goalkeeper Elliott Morris has agreed a two-year deal with the club.

Boss Gary Haveron said: "I'm delighted to get this contract sorted and also to know we'll be able to rely on Elliott for the next couple of years.

"His performances this season - in fact, since I got here - have been consistently excellent. I recently said when we won at Dungannon that Elliott must be one of the greatest, if not the greatest goalkeepers ever to play for Glentoran and I'm sure that with this new contract he can set a new Glentoran appearances record that might never be broken.

"I've known him since we were both 15, played with him at nearly every level of junior international football, played against him in the Irish League for over a decade and he still has the same high standards as he did when he was a young player.

"He's both a legend and a leader at Glentoran and is a role model for all our young players. This is a great vote of confidence in the future of Glentoran and a massive boost for the club."

Belfast Telegraph

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