Elliott Morris coming to terms with Glentoran’s ‘underdogs’ tag

Elliott Morris is hoping Glentoran can get back to winning silverware
Elliott Morris is hoping Glentoran can get back to winning silverware

Elliott Morris admits it has been strange watching Glentoran go from hot favourites to perennial underdogs in recent years.

Alongside Linfield, the Glens used to form part of a formidable ‘Big Two’ that once dominated the Irish League landscape.

But well documented financial problems forced the Oval club to readjust their sights, while their city rivals strengthened and surged to major silverware success.

The Glens are hoping to return to winning ways in this season’s Irish Cup.

On Saturday they meet Crusaders in the semi-finals of the blue riband competition.

Morris and his team-mates have been installed as 3/1 outsiders for the clash at Mourneview Park.

Manager Eddie Patterson recently declared his side would be “massive underdogs” against the Premiership leaders.

Morris is forced to agree, and he accepts Glentoran will have to raise their game if they are to progress to May’s showpiece final.

“Eddie has already said we are the underdogs going into Saturday’s game. It might be strange to hear that, as over the years Glentoran would usually be favourites going into games with Crusaders,” the goalkeeper said.

“But things have changed a wee bit. Crusaders are a big, strong side and they have a big squad to choose from.

“They probably have a bigger squad than us, and more quality.

“We go into the game as underdogs, but hopefully we can produce the goods and progress to the final.

“We haven’t got too many results against Crusaders. We have put in some good performances against them, but only after we have endured a bad start. They have maybe got two or three goals ahead and then we start – but we can’t afford that same mistake on Saturday.

“We have to start well and put Crusaders on the back foot.

“They are the strongest and most physical side we have played against. And they are probably the best side we have met too.”

Morris believes the current squad housed at The Oval is better than the one that lifted the cup two years ago.

Morris, Jay Magee, David Howland and Stephen McAlorum started that final against Cliftonville.

The seven other starters – Sean Ward, Andy Waterworth, Richard Clarke, Stephen Carson, Mark Clarke, Jason Hill and Jimmy Callacher – have since moved on.

“It is a radically changed squad since 2013, but I think it is a better one,” Morris said of the current panel.

“We have a lot of kids that have come through the squad, and they have come on leaps and bounds over the past 18 months.

“Willie Garrett, Stephen Gordon, Jordan Stewart, Kym Nelson, Danny McKee – players like that.

“We have a lot of young kids, and I am the oldest.

“I don’t put this grey hair in, it is just there.”