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Murray hits the ground running to ensure derby delight for Portadown on their return to the top flight

Glenavon 2 Portadown 4

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Stephen Murray haunted his old club

Stephen Murray haunted his old club

Stephen Murray haunted his old club

Stephen Murray had every reason to celebrate on Saturday night.

If two goals in the opening game of the season wasn't enough he also claimed two assists as Portadown claimed a 4-2 victory over derby rivals Glenavon in their first match back in the Premiership after three seasons of Championship football.

Murray - one of only two players in the a youthful Ports starting line up over the age of 30 - got his first after only seven minutes before doubling his tally after half an hour to put the Ports in control of the game.

It was only when the occasion got the better of him that the former Mourneview Park favourite let his emotions run free and although there were no Portadown fans there to share the moment, it was one that Murray savoured.

"It felt like old times, hitting the back of the net in competitive football. It was great," said Murray.

"It was a bit weird when there was no noise, but it was still great.

"I didn't want to over-celebrate because Glenavon fans were good to me when I was at the club, but at the end of the day I'm a Portadown player now so I had to do the knee slide after the second one.

"Maybe in the heat of the battle - there were a few challenges going in and it was starting to feel like a good mid-Ulster derby - I got caught up in it and everyone enjoys a good knee slide."

Glenavon were on top for long periods of the second half and hopes of a comeback were sparked when Peter Campbell pulled a goal back on 54 minutes.

It was on two counter attacks, first with Murray fizzing in a cross to the edge of the six-yard box for Lee Bonis to score 10 minutes from time before he hooked the ball on for Aaron Burns to net the Ports' fourth with the last kick of the game, that the Shamrock Park men sealed the points, rendering James Singleton's 85th minute header as academic.

"I used to be a winger back in underage football," Murray said with a wry smile.

"I was out wide, I saw Lee busting a gut to get in there and knew he had the legs on the defender. I knew if I put it into an area he is a good enough finisher to score."

Despite missing as many as eight members of his first-team squad Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton offered no excuses for his team's below-par performance.

"In my opinion we had 11 players out there who should be winning that game," he said. "They are good enough, but they weren't in this game."

Belfast Telegraph


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