Belfast Telegraph

Smyth hails his players as they aim to help him finish in style

 

By Graham Luney

Glentoran players will aim to produce a big performance today to see Gary Smyth sign off in style as the club's manager.

Smyth informed his players this week that the Danske Bank Premiership clash at Cliftonville today would be his final game in charge of the club.

Glens chiefs are considering keeping Smyth on board as part of the club's new management structure determined by fresh investment from a wealthy Iranian businessman.

Smyth does not yet have the coaching badges required to take charge of the club in European competitions and the Glens have until tomorrow to apply for a licence to play in Europe next season. The 49-year-old is working towards his A Licence.

Seventh-placed Glentoran are still chasing a spot in the end-of-season Europa League play-offs.

Smyth must plan without James McCarthy, who is suspended after being sent off in the win over Ballymena United two weeks ago, while injury rules out Calum Birney and Conor Pepper.

Striker Darren Murray and defender Willie Garrett are both available again, while Jamie Glover is in line for a possible start.

"I couldn't have been any happier with the Ballymena performance and result," said Smyth.

"On the morning I wouldn't have been that unhappy if it had been called off given how many players we had missing. But the senior players really rose to it.

"The midfield controlled the game and got forward well, and up front Paul (O'Neill) got a great goal and Robbie McDaid was absolutely unplayable.

"We've had two very close matches with the Reds this season so we'll definitely be out to build on the Ballymena performance."

The match is the last for both clubs before the league splits into two. It is the first of four consecutive home league games for Cliftonville, who have won four of their six top-flight encounters since Paddy McLaughlin replaced Barry Gray as manager.

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