Boss Gary Smyth praises his Welders after victory

Gary Smyth
Gary Smyth

Harland and Wolff Welders boss Gary Smyth hailed his players following Tuesday’s County Antrim Shield heroics against Glentoran.

The Welders claimed a thrilling 4-3 penalty shootout victory at The Oval to book their place in the quarter-finals.

Goalkeeper Michael Dougherty provided the defining moment in a tense finale, saving Johnny Addis’ final spot-kick to send the Championship 1 underdogs into raptures.

“I am over the moon - absolutely delighted,” proud manager Smyth said.

“I feared the worst because we didn’t have Davy Rainey, and Michael McLellan was injured. Michael was named on the bench, but he was never going to play. That was just to make up the numbers as we were missing so many players.

“We only had one fit sub, so this victory is brilliant.

“Everyone who played was superb. I don’t think you would have known which side was the Premiership one and which one is the Championship one.

“I don’t think we hung in there. We deservedly got a clean sheet during the game and should have scored a couple.”

Smyth admits the penalty shootout was a nerve-racking experience for his side, but praised their mettle in the pressure atmosphere.

“We missed our first penalty and you start thinking ‘there we go’. The first one is really important and we missed it,” he added.

“Then Glentoran score their first two and we were up against it. But then they missed and suddenly the pressure shifted.

“I felt for the young lad Addis stepping up for that penalty. I wouldn’t have fancied it myself.

“I tried putting myself in his position and it wouldn’t have been nice. But Doc (Dougherty) saved it which was great for us. Funnily enough Doc was due to take the sixth penalty if it went to sudden death, but he was the hero.”