Nixon insists semi-final spot is not ‘nailed on’

Glentoran's Andrew Waterworth
Glentoran's Andrew Waterworth

Defender Colin Nixon doesn’t buy into the suggestion that Glentoran are ‘nailed on’ for and Irish Cup semi-final slot.

The East Belfast boys were boosted by the fact they will face little Knockbreda Parish on March 2 – with a spot in the last four the big prize.

“I would take any team in the cup, it doesn’t really matter – you just have to beat what’s in front of you,” stressed Nixon.

“All we can do is keep winning in each round.

“We have a lot to play for over the next few months. Getting into Europe is a priority... we want to finish as high up the league as possible. And, we are getting to the critical stage in the Irish Cup.

“We now play in the Setanta Cup this week – that will provide a welcome break, it’s a great tournament to play in.”

The Glens’ Irish Cup prospects looked anything but good after only 11 minutes in Saturday’s sixth round tie against Bangor at Clandeboye Park.

A shock looked on the cards when Thomas Lambe and Michael Doran shot the Seaiders ahead. But Eddie Patterson’s team came off the ropes, with Andy Waterworth, Jimmy Callacher and Nixon netting before the interval.

Marcus Kane grabbed the goal of the game early in the second half before hard working midfielder David Howland finished the job.

It was Nixon’s first game for six weeks, having fully recovered from a nose operation.

“I felt good... and it was great to be involved again,” he said. “But I was scratching my head after the first 10 minutes, not knowing what I let myself in for in my comeback game.

“It was a matter of calming everyone down – I thought we handled it well. It is probably a measure of where we are at as a team... we didn’t panic, we didn’t give in and we continued to play our football on what was a dreadful spongy surface.

“I thought we won quite comfortably in the end.”

Nixon insisted there was never any chance of his team becoming victims of a cup shock for the second successive year – they were dumped out by amateur league side Newington last season.

“Absolutely not,” he added. “Sadly, that result has stained the club’s history, but it was a one off – it will never happen again.”

Bangor boss Gareth Scates had no complaints.

He stated: “We were over run in the end. There was a big gap between the teams in terms of class and fitness. We made a great start, but we knew Glentoran would come back.

“If we keep showing that commitment, I’m confident we will pull ourselves clear from the relegation zone in Championship 1.”

Bangor: Justin, Mann, Watterson (O’Kane 76), D Youle, Hylands, Scates, Hall (Cahill 82), Cooling (Armstrong 82), Morrow, Doran, Lambe. Subs: B Youle, O’Hara.

Glentoran: Morris, Ward, Hill, Nixon, Callacher, M Clarke (O’Hanlon 63), Kane (Bradley 80), R Clarke (McAlorum 72), Waterworth, Howland, Carson. Subs: Murray, Gibson.

Referee: A Hunter.