Club Focus: Lurgan Celtic
Lurgan Celtic's new manager Colin Malone believes that the Knockramer Park club can one day join cross town rivals Glenavon in the Premiership.
Celtic are currently struggling near the bottom of the Belfast Telegraph Championship Two, but Malone's arrival could usher in a new era for the Lurgan based club.
Celtic lost a number of key players at the start of the season, which saw them struggle for form under previous manager Ciaran O'Kane. But Malone has now been brought in with the aim of kick starting a renaissance.
Malone explained: “I think this club has great potential. I think it could be a Premiership side in the future.
“Lurgan is a football town and I think it could carry two top flight sides. I don't think you can say that about Armagh or Dungannon.
“There are plenty of players who leave Lurgan to go and play their football elsewhere each Saturday, and we'd like to build a team that keeps them in the town.
“If we can do that, then there is no reason why this club can't push for the Premiership in the future, but for now our aim is to stay in the league.
“If we dropped out of the Irish League, it would be a bitter blow for our club, so our first aim is to make sure we aren't relegated this season.
“If we can achieve that, then we will try and push on next season. We've set our targets high, but they are only achievable if we are organised on and off the field and everyone is pulling in the same direction, I think we can achieve our aspirations.”
Malone is a manager with plenty of Irish League experience. He recently left Loughgall in August, following a disappointing pre-season and the Lurgan man has previously been at the helm of Glenavon, Dungannon Swifts and Armagh City.
His achievements including taking Glenavon into Europe and guiding Armagh to the First Division title.
Malone admits that he has missed the buzz that management provides this season.
“I'm pleased to back in management. You can watch as many games as you want, but nothing replaces the buzz of being a manager.
“I left Loughgall in August, so I was only out of the game for a handful of months, but I'm still glad to be back. Any football man will tell you, that you miss it when you're not involved.
“It's good to be back, particularly at a great club like Lurgan Celtic. This is a club with plenty of potential and I'm confident we can achieve great things here.
“We've a great dugout with former Dungannon Swifts manager Dixie Robinson and the previous Lurgan Celtic boss Ciaran O'Kane working with me. I'm looking forward to getting on with the job.”
Malone kick started his Lurgan Celtic career with an impressive 3-2 victory over Glebe Rangers at Knockramer Park. That win lifts Celtic into 13th place, and puts them nine points clear of the relegation zone, with Killymoon Rangers cut adrift at the bottom of the table.
Name: Lurgan Celtic Football Club
League: Belfast Telegraph Championship Two
Nicknames: The Celts or The Hoops
Ground: Knockramer Park
Colours: Green & White Hoops
Belfast Telegraph Digital