Gary Hamilton guiding Glenavon towards European football

Glenavons' James Singleton celebrates scoring against Glentoran
Glenavons' James Singleton celebrates scoring against Glentoran

There’s more to come from Glenavon under Gary Hamilton, according to his coaching staff.

As talk of a European place through league qualification continues to grow - the first time they would have done so since 2001 - Glenavon did their chances no harm by smashing four past his old club Glentoran.

News of Hamilton signing a three-year contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2018/19 was greeted with cheers prior to kick-off from the home support - and rightly so, according to First Team Coach, Nigel Law.

“A lot of what people will judge Gary on is what happens on the pitch, but in terms of what he’s done with the Academy, changing the ethos of the club and what we do in the community far outweighs that for me,” he said.

“This time three years ago we were on 22 and fighting relegation. Now we are on 57 and fighting for Europe.

“That’s a great credit to Gary through his recruitment to the way he manages the players, what he expects of people and how he manages the club on a daily basis.

“He deserves every bit of success and I just know that over the next three years he’ll just keep taking this club forward.”

For Glentoran, Eddie Patterson thought his team were superb in the first half and only for defensive lapses they shouldn’t have been going in behind by two goals at the break.

But he was less than impressed with their second half performance.

“We had total domination in the first half and went in 2-0 down. I can’t explain it,” he said.

“The first goal was a foul on Elliott Morris. If the linesman can see that the ball is over the line then he can see that the goalkeeper is being pulled down.

“You’ve then got an elbow by Braniff which got a yellow card but which should have been red.

“That’s not making excuses for why we were 2-0 down at the break.

“In the second half we didn’t perform. The third was a good save by Elliott but their player wasn’t tracked.

“The fourth goals I’ll have to look at again but they were poor goals to concede.

“I couldn’t fault the boys in the first half but the second half was an absolute shambles.”

Glentoran included Curtis Allen in their line-up after only discovering on Thursday that the striker was available to play, with his suspension not due to start until today (Monday).

Stephen McAlorum, who had been part of their plans for the game up until that point, was forced to miss out due to a ban of his own.

Glenavon took the lead after surviving wave after wave of Glentoran attack.

Kevin Braniff swung in a corner kick, leading to a melee in the box. James Singleton’s back heel headed goalbound and was blocked by a number of Glentoran defenders on the line, but referee Arnold Hunter decided enough of the ball had crossed the line and awarded a goal.

It was 2-0 in first half stoppage time when Andy McGrory started a move which saw Mark Patton charge down the left hand side before being cut down. Referee Hunter let play continue and the ball broke free for Singleton to nip in and score a second.

Glenavon’s third came a quick break down the right hand side.

Substitute Hamilton touched it on for Martyn, his shot was pushed away by Morris, but Patton was in the right place at the right time to tap in.

And they made it four shortly afterwards when Hamilton set up McGrory, his shot was initially blocked but the winger managed to touch the ball past the Glentoran goalkeeper.