Mick McDermott poised to take over as Glentoran manager
Glentoran are planning to announce Mick McDermott as their new manager today.
Sunday Life Sport understands that McDermott would like to keep current boss Gary Smyth plus coaches Paul Leeman and Kieran Harding at the Glens, who yesterday suffered a third injury-time loss of the season to Cliftonville.
It has been another eventful week at the Glens, with Smyth revealing on Thursday that he had been informed the Danske Bank Premiership game at Solitude would be his last in charge of the club.
The 49-year-old, who took over from Ronnie McFall in January and received a rousing reception from Glentoran fans after yesterday's match, said: "Nothing changed in terms of preparing the team and doing the team-talk, I'm just gutted, again, with an injury-time defeat against Cliftonville for the third time this season - one's bad, the second time's unacceptable and today, the alarm bells should have been ringing. We've got to learn to see games out."
The players and fans are keen for Smyth, Leeman and Harding to remain in some capacity and Glentoran sources say that McDermott is of the same opinion, however Smyth cautioned: "I don't know what will happen. I've heard the same talk as everyone else but what I do know is if I'm going in to manage a club, I'm bringing my own people with me.
"I wouldn't inherit anybody else's (backroom staff) because you need people you can trust. I know the club have said I'm going to be there and whatever else but I'm not too sure how much of a say the club are going to have."
Pressed on whether he would be happy to stay on in a coaching role, he added: "I'd need to see. It may not be my decision, it's all down to whoever comes in."
Smyth does not possess the relevant coaching qualifications to take the Glens into Europe next season and, with today being the deadline to apply for a UEFA Licence, that's where Belfast native McDermott comes in.
He is starting his Pro Licence coaching badges with the Irish FA in the summer and is a key figure in brokering a big money takeover deal at Glentoran with the club confident that, if it goes through, millions will be invested on and off the pitch.
He has worked as a fitness coach for Carlos Queiroz with the Iran national team and recently the pair have teamed up with Colombia - whose own players would have been delighted to score the kind of goal that got the Glens off to a flyer yesterday.
With just six minutes on the clock, Gavin Peers swept the ball left for Curtis Allen, who stood up a delightful cross for the in-rushing Paul O'Neill to plant a header past the flat-footed Richard Brush.
The visitors' control of the first-half should have been rewarded with a second goal just before the interval when Allen slipped the long-striding John Herron in, but his low drive was turned behind by the keeper.
Cliftonville were much improved after the break and two fierce Levi Ives efforts were signals of their intent before Elliott Morris tipped a Ryan Curran drive over the bar for the 69th minute corner from which Rory Donnelly levelled; his out-stretched leg turning Niall Grace's flick-on over the line.
Allen twice came close to restoring Glentoran's advantage before Marcus Kane stuck out a heel to stop Curran's goalbound shot putting Cliftonville in front.
But there was nothing the visiting skipper or his team-mates could do when, just as the clock ticked on to 90 minutes, Rory Donnelly floated over a cross which Joe Gormley did well to nod down for Curran to rifle a low strike beyond Morris' despairing dive and condemn Smyth to defeat in his final game at the helm.
Last night, a few issues were being clarified with the Glens hoping to make an announcement today about their third boss of the season. Whether or not club legends Smyth and Leeman will stick around remains to be seen.
In terms of the takeover, it is moving closer, though shareholders will have to give it the go ahead at an EGM.
CLIFTONVILLE: Brush 7, McGovern 6 (A Donnelly, 90 mins, 5), Ives 7, Grace 8, Harney 7, C Curran 8, R Curran 7, R Donnelly 7, A Harkin 7, Gormley 6 (Bagnall, 90 mins, 5), Gorman 7. Unused subs: Neeson, McConnell, Lavery, Maguire, Whiteway.
GLENTORAN: Morris 7, Kane 7, Peers 7, C Gallagher 6, Herron 6, Allen 6, McDaid 7, Kerr 6, O'Neill 6, Gwiazda 7, Glover 6. Unused subs: Garrett, McMahon, Smith.
REFEREE: Tony Clarke (Newtownabbey) 7
Niall Grace worked hard for little reward in the first-half before influencing the Reds' control on the game after the break.
Tony Clarke's decision to hold back on any early cards leant itself to a feisty encounter between two full-blooded sides.
Gavin Peers spread the play to Curtis Allen, whose beautifully clipped cross was met with a fine finish from Paul O'Neill.