While some rivals may claim the gloss has come off the Big Two derby in recent times, Glentoran defender Sean Ward insists games with Linfield remain a “massive occasion”.
Both clubs look destined to be also-rans as far as this season’s title race is concerned, with North Belfast rivals Cliftonville and Crusaders battling it out at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table.
The Blues’ grip on the Gibson Cup has been prised open after a three-year domination while Glentoran’s ongoing financial problems continue to shadow the Oval outfit.
“People might not label it as the ‘Big Two’ anymore, but it is still a huge fixture for both clubs,” Ward said.
“Games like these mean so much to the players and supporters, and they will always be special.
“I don’t know if they have more meaning this season because of the difficult season both clubs have had.
“Linfield’s defence of the title seems to be over – Cliftonville look as if they have it wrapped up.
“So I think Europe is the main target for clubs sitting below them in the table. That is what we are aiming for, and Crusaders, Linfield and the rest will be hoping for the same.”