Glentoran head coach Mick McDermott was able to set aside derby disappointment following Saturday’s final whistle and point to the bigger picture beyond the short-term pain.
The Glens arrived at Windsor Park to face the defending Irish League champions off the back of five consecutive wins and with renewed optimism at encouraging early strides.
As a result, McDermott accepted falling to Kirk Millar’s late goal within the context of keeping his faith in long-term progress.
“The preparation that goes into each game is the same, I will watch that match back over the weekend and take out the pieces for training next week but then we put it to bed and look to the next fixture,” he said. “That way, you don’t get the big highs or lows and that’s how we have to approach the whole season.
“With a competitive training squad you can stay on top of things and the bench is the best motivator.
“If you’re not putting it in you will not play and I think the fans see the effort the lads are putting in and the buzz around the club.
“The fans came in numbers today and supported us and they’ll be disappointed going into work getting stick with the bragging rights for Linfield until the next meeting.
“We have to keep doing what we can for the fans, it’s about the players, supporters and community of this club and we want to keep that to the forefront as we continue building a football club, not just a team.
“At some point, of course, they are going to demand trophies but I’m confident that will come.
“Today, we are happy with the performance, effort and commitment of the team.
“Linfield are very efficient at what they do with wide players getting down the line and early crosses but I thought we managed to deal with most of those things.
“If Robbie McDaid’s header drops in rather than hit the crossbar it could have been a very different game.
“Derbies are derbies and those fine margins are what it’s about.
“We had runners a few times in the second half so could have done better in terms of the play but not the effort or enthusiasm.
“I was debating changes and weighing up tactical decisions and actually thought Elvio Van Overbeek was physically taking a dip then all of a sudden he came back into it.
“Paul O’Neill on the other side was excellent too at 19 years old.
“There was a bit of confusion in the first half, with Conor Pepper getting isolated and Elvio not certain when to come back or stay up but we talked about it at half-time and fixed it.
“Conor played centre midfield last year probably by default but was always a full-back in Scotland.
“I’m convinced in Conor and Marcus Kane we’ve the two best full-backs in this league, I wouldn’t swap them for anyone else.”