Portadown skipper Michael Gault admits he is playing with a smile on his face again!
The 31-year-old is relishing the prospect of locking horns with Glentoran in Saturday’s glamour Irish Cup final at the Oval.
This time last season he was jettisoned by Linfield – at a club where he became a cult figure.
Having won every medal in his days at Windsor Park – not once but on numerous occasions – Gault believes there are still more to come.
“Most people think the only way is down when you leave Linfield, but it isn’t,” he states.
“In some cases that may be case, but I’m happy to prove the theory wrong.
“I’ve no hard feelings. That’s football – these things happen. We have gone our separate ways – you just have to move on
“When Portadown came knocking, Ronnie (McFall) sold the club to me. He was ambitious and he was hungry to win trophies. That was enough for me.
“I’m delighted with the move . . . and now we have the cup final to look forward to – the biggest day of the year.”
Gault stresses that the Ports have an added incentive to see off the Glens on their home ground.
“He added: “To be honest, we let ourselves down a bit in the league title race.
“We really thought we had enough in the tank to win it, but we came up short when it mattered.
“Good luck to Crusaders. The league table doesn’t lie. They were the most consistent team and they deserved their success.
“We lost our way, perhaps we took our eye off the ball around Christmas time. We were on top for a while, before it all went wrong.
“But we now have the cup final to help us get over the disappointment. It can also open the door to European football, which ban be big financial boost to the club.”
Gault was back in action last week against his former employers, but had to sit out a few games previously as another booking would have ruled him out of the final.
“It was something new to me,” quipped Gault.
“Normally, in my Linfield days, we would have been in the running for the league title, so we would have been going full belt in every game.
“However, with Portadown being out of the running, the boss was able to manage the squad carefully with the cup final in mind.
“Anyone with injuries were not risked. It means we’ll be travelling to Belfast basically at full strength.”
Gault, however, insists the Ports will be taking nothing for granted.
“Glentoran are in the final on merit,” he adds. “They beat the league’s form team, Crusaders in the semi-final.
“However, we may not have the biggest panel of players like some of our rivals, but from one to 11, we have great quality.”