Linfield midfielder Ross Gaynor insists complacency will not be an issue when little Lurgan Celtic arrive at Windsor Park on Saturday for an intriguing Tennent’s Irish Cup semi-final (3pm).
The Blues go into the tie hot favourites to book their place in the game’s most glamorous day of the season.
But they’ll be taking nothing for granted against a team that recorded a history breaking win over Portadown in the quarter finals, a result that signalled the end of Ronnie McFall’s 29 year reign at Shamrock Park.
Gaynor, who won the FAI Cup with Sligo Rovers in 2013, beating Drogheda 3-2 in the final, joined the Blues in the January transfer window, but has made a dramatic impact as David Healy’s boys are chasing down a league and cup double triumph.
“As a player, you want to play in cup finals,” said the 28 year old Gayno. “I’ve won the league down south at Sligo, but my best memories are from cup wins.
“It will be a massive game for us. Lurgan Celtic have done really well to get to where they are - the semi final is a great achievement.
“We know it will be a tricky tame. But we have prepared properly, so hopefully we can give the fans something to cheer.”
Gaynor insists it’s just the start of what could be a frenetic finale to the season for the Blues, whose trophy cabinet has been empty for the past four years.
“Every game is now a cup final,” he adds. “The gaffer has been drilling that into us. After this semi final, we have a massive league game at Seaview.
“But we are hungry to do well. We started really well at Warrenpoint to other night . . . three goals up inside a half our. We have to maintain that momentum.
“All we can do is win our games and keep putting the pressure on Crusaders. We are going to give 100 per cent in every match.”
Little Paul Smyth returns the the Linfield squad following his appearance for Northern Ireland’s in the Under-19 game against the Ukraine in Holland.
Manager David Healy admits he’ll now have a selection headache.
“This is a game all the boys are relishing – it’s a big occasion for the club,” he said. “We haven’t won the Irish Cup since 2012 and the players are aware of that.
“People will say that Lurgan Celtic are only a Championships side, but I know will be a tough ask... a tough game. Look what they did at Portadown.
“We have done our homework on Lurgan Celtic. We’ve had them watched three or four times... I’ve had other reports on them.
“They come here well aware of the threat that can come from our players.
“Hopefully, we can deliver when it matters. We are on a good run at the moment, so it’s important to keep that going.”