EUROPA LEAGUE PLAY-OFF FINAL: Glentoran ace Curtis Allen ready to down Cliftonville at Solitude

Curtis Allen
Curtis Allen

Glentoran striker Curtis Allen scored the all important fourth goal against Linfield at Windsor Park on Wednesday night to keep the east Belfast’s Europa Cup dream alive.

Allen’s goal was the difference as the Glens saw off Linfield 4-3 in the last four to set-up tomorrow’s Play-off final against Cliftonville at Solitude - in what is a must win for both sides because of the finances involved.

And few would have believed the east Belfast side would have seen off the Blues - especially after being 2-0 down - but they did and now after finishing seventh in the league standings have a chance to qualify for Europe and bring in much needed cash to the Oval.

And Allen says they now they face a tough test when they tackle the Reds on their home patch tomorrow afternoon.

“We have given ourselves a huge opportunity and this European money would be great for the club and we need to strengthen the squad but to come back from 2-0 down against the Blues is unbelievable and we had four different scorers.

“We have belief now in the dressing room and we believe we can on now and win there and that belief is in the dressing room that we can get the job done.”

And Glentoran interim boss Ronnie McFall was pleased with the way his side fought back against the Blues but he knows there is work still to be done.

“We need one more big performance. Yes, it was a good display against Linfield, but we haven’t achieved anything yet.

“We’ll need a similar type of performance against Cliftonville to get us into Europe.

“It doesn’t get much more difficult . . . we know it’s going to be another battle.

“Cliftonville will be the same, it’s a one-off game. They will be playing their eye strings out to try and get into Europe.”

And McFall says he has no intention of staying on at the Oval even if they do qualify for Europe.

The situation hasn’t changed regarding my position . . . Saturday will be my last game in charge. I came in initially to steady the ship and help the club out. I didn’t think I would be here as long.

“I thought there would have been someone appointed by this stage.

“There have been a few people that have turned down the job, but it’s nothing to do with me.”

And even after the 4-3 win against the Blues - McFall is not getting carried away.

“Against Linfield I thought we were the better side for the first 20 minutes or so.

“We had a chance to go a goal up but didn’t take it. After that, Linfield dominated.

“When we went two goals down, it was a long road back. Once we pulled one back, the impetus was with us. Linfield heads dropped.

“I thought we deserved to win it.

“It’s one game. As far as we are concerned, it’s only half-time.

“Yes, it was a good display, but we haven’t achieved anything yet.

“But I can’t fault the players since I’ve come in,” he added. “They are all good lads and I’m delighted with the response I’ve got from them.

“Football is all about attitude and mental strength.

“If you get those two right, then you have a chance. We will give it a go against Cliftonville.”