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Struggling Glentoran will get it right sooner rather than later, believes former defender Devine


Former Glentoran man John Devine

Former Glentoran man John Devine

Former Glentoran man John Devine

Big-spending Glentoran may have slumped to the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership, but former defender John Devine insists there is no crisis at The Oval.

Even though manager Mick McDermott hauled in a total of EIGHT high-profile signings over the summer, the east Belfast giants have managed to pocket merely two points from their opening four League games.

It's hardly the start the Glentoran faithful anticipated, especially after their Irish Cup success back in July when Robbie McDaid's winning goal against Ballymena United ended a five-year trophy drought.

Ex-skipper Devine knows a thing or two about lifting silverware.

In a magical 13-year period, he hoisted the Gibson Cup on three occasions - the last of those in May 1999 - and was also on the Irish Cup winners' rostrum four times.

He has no doubt the Glens will be up there challenging for the title come the end of April.

"Everyone connected with the club will be disappointed to be sitting bottom of the table after four games, especially the manager," said Devine.

"But let's be realistic, it's early in the campaign and there is plenty of time for them to recover.

"Yes, a lot of new faces have arrived over the past few months, and those players must be given time. I know everyone will be frustrated at the minute - including the players and the management team because they'll know they are too good to be sitting bottom.

"One win can move them two or three places up the table, it will come."

With having so many quality players in the group, Devine reckons McDermott could still be pondering on what really is his strongest line-up.

"I think there have been 21 players signed from the start of last summer, which is a phenomenal amount," he added.

"There are too many good players there for them not to climb the table.

"I'm confident they'll be up there challenging at the end of the campaign. Whether they have enough in their locker to win it remains to be seen.

"They seem to be dominating games, but goal scoring appears to be the problem. Defensively, they seem strong, they give little away at the back. The manager has signed well in Luke McCullough, who has fitted in with the likes of Keith Cowan, Caolan Marron and Paddy McClean.

"I've read criticism accusing the manager of making too many changes to the side for different games - that could be a problem as well.

"I don't know whether he was making the changes to freshen things up, or to give everyone a game.

"The problem with a big squad is keeping them all happy.

"In our day, we had a good continuity at the back because it was the same players used week in, week out. I still think they'll get it right.

"I know Mick is not concerned with the early results. He knows the quality is there."

Devine, who won 16 medals across 468 appearances after making his Glentoran debut in 1987, believes once McDermott's boys start hitting the net on a regular basis, they'll move through the gears.

He added: "I watched the game against Larne on television and I really thought Glentoran were the better team. I think once they start scoring, they'll take a lot of confidence from that.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the right player becomes available in January and he's a recognised goal scorer, the Glens will be in the hunt for him because there appears to be no shortage of money about The Oval these days - Mick is certainly not afraid to splash the cash.

"If you want to challenge for trophies, you need a big squad. They have Hrvoje Plum to come back into the side - he's a quality player and, for me, he could be the one that can help them get points on board."

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