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Elliott Morris: One more season and then I'm out so Colin Nixon's Glentoran record is safe


Prize guy: Elliott Morris toasts his fourth Irish Cup win

Prize guy: Elliott Morris toasts his fourth Irish Cup win

Prize guy: Elliott Morris toasts his fourth Irish Cup win

Elliott Morris may have agreed a new one-year contract with Glentoran, but he insists that former team-mate Colin Nixon's all-time appearance record will still be intact come the end of next season.

The 39-year-old goalkeeper, who is approaching his 19th Irish League campaign with the east Belfast club, was the hero of the Glens' Irish Cup win a few weeks back.

Against all the odds, he battled his way back to reclaim the No.1 shirt, even though Glens boss Mick McDermott had splashed the cash to bring Croatian shot-stopper Marijan Antolovic to the club.

Morris took centre-stage in the Cup Semi-Final penalty shoot-out victory against Cliftonville before turning in another top-class display in the nerve-tingling win over Ballymena United to help bring the first piece of silverware to The Oval for five years.

Although Antolovic has since departed, McDermott has been busy in the transfer market of late, snapping up two highly-rated goalkeepers in Dayle Coleing - a 24-year-old Gibraltar international - and 20-year-old former Institute custodian Rory Brown.

It means that Morris' chances of overhauling Nixon, who clocked up an astonishing 792 appearances in the famous red, green and black shirt, appear remote as he remains 50 adrift.

"I still want to play and be involved," says Morris. "I can play 10 games, possibly 15. There is no chance of me playing 50 games over the course of a season.

"I'll have one more year as a player and then I'll take a big step back. I've no chance of catching Nicky's record - I'm still 50 games short, which is a full season. It's not going to happen. Mick has brought in a couple of quality goalkeepers.

"The amount of games I play over the course of the season will not be my decision."

In his 18 years at the club, Morris has experienced the highs and lows, but he believes the Glens are on their way back towards once again becoming one of the League's giants.

He adds: "It has been tough. When I first joined the club, trophies were landing at a regular rate for the first six or seven years - and we were in Europe every season as well.

"But it has been well documented about the club's financial problems. It became the norm of not winning trophies and qualifying for Europe.

"You need money to be successful in football and, unfortunately, we didn't have a lot at the club. Our better players were also being picked off by other clubs.

"Thankfully, those days are behind us. Ali (Pour) has come in and Mick and Windy (Paul Millar) are now bringing the best players to the club, which will catapult us back up there again.

"We are going to be serious challengers. When you look at the players we have and the players we have brought in, we'll be a match for any side. The money available will certainly change the club again."

Even though he was hailed the hero of the Cup win, Morris was surprised to be involved.

"I spent most of the season on the substitutes bench and coaching the goalkeepers at the club," he adds.

"I didn't think I would have another Irish Cup Final in me.

"I had to remain focused and keep my professional head on just in case I was called on.

"To be honest, I didn't think I would play in the Semi-Final but it turned out to be a great decision by the boss!

"I'll not tell any lies when I say I am sore after games - knees, back and fingers - but, at 39, I suppose that's to be expected."

Belfast Telegraph