IRISH LEAGUE: Curtis Allen sets sights on Europe as he makes it 20 goals for the season

Carrick Rangers Glenn Taggart challenges Glentorans Steven McCullough
Carrick Rangers Glenn Taggart challenges Glentorans Steven McCullough

Glentoran striker Curtis Allen made it 20 goals for the season in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Carrick and he has set his sights on European football next season.

The frontman netted twice at Taylor’s Avenue, either side of a James Wright free-kick, as the Glens got the job done against relegation-threatened Rangers.

Now the 28-year-old is hoping Alan Kernaghan’s men can book a spot in Europe next term.

“Europe is still there for us,” Allen said after Saturday’s match. “The play-off scheme has come in this year and it could be a blessing for us. We could finish sixth and qualify. We’ve got to keep chugging along and keep trying to win these games. If the opportunity is there, then why not?”

His brace against Carrick makes it an impressive 46 goals in 95 appearances for Allen and he’s confident he can add to that tally before the end of campaign.

“It’s been a good week,” he said. “I got two goals last weekend and two early ones today. I was disappointed not to get a hat-trick but the ‘keeper made a couple of good saves. We got the three points and hopefully we’re off on a good we run now and if we can finish the season strongly it could potentially set us up for Europe.

“My target at the start of each season is 20. Any striker who scores 20 goals can class it as a good season and there are still some games left so hopefully I can get a few more.

“I managed to shrug off Aaron Smyth for the first goal and the second - a header - I was pleased with. I think Brian McCaul was marking me and I felt that Scully (David Scullion) was going to play the ball to back post and I brushed off McCaul and he didn’t come with me and it literally came straight to me. My eyes were on the ball from the moment he took the free-kick and, two yards out, you don’t miss from there.”

He added: “I put that pressure on myself that I want to score in every game and I’m finishing the season strongly and I’m more than happy with my return so far.”

Carrick’s midweek heroics against Crusaders perhaps took their toll and they were punished for glaring mistakes against the Glens.

“Well below par would be the best way to sum up our display,” said manager, Gary Haveron. “We put a lot into the win against the Crues and it looked like a really laboured performance from us today. Glentoran haven’t done anything spectacular to win the game, but they haven’t had to.”