IRISH LEAGUE: Haveron ‘emotional’ as Oval finds its roar

Nacho Novo celebrates opening the scoring on Saturday.

Photographs: � Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Nacho Novo celebrates opening the scoring on Saturday. Photographs: � Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Glentoran boss Gary Haveron simply failed to smother his emotions at the end of this roller-coaster Danske Premiership clash at the Oval.

Haveron and his players soaked up the applause from the fans following an astonishing second half revival, sparked Nacho Novo’s first goal in a green, red and black shirt.

Chris Lavery in action for the Glens.

Chris Lavery in action for the Glens.

The Glens’ horrible sequence of results at their east Belfast base -- they hadn’t won since August 6 -- looked like continuing after Jay Donnelly shot a dominant Cliftonville into a first half lead.

Whatever Haveron said behind close doors at the interval worked a treat. Novo rammed home a beauty just two minutes after the restart, but the biggest cheer of the day came when Steven Gordon headed a late winner.

The back-slaps, high fives, fist pumping and badge kissing all started on the final blast of referee Keith Kennedy’s whistle

“Sometimes it’s difficult not to be emotional, especially when you hear the roar of the crowd once our second goal went in,” beamed Haveron.

“The fans were great . . . they got right behind us and helped get up over the line at the finish line.

“It’s nice to hear that roar back at the Oval.

“They (the supporters) haven’t had that much to shout about of late, so hopefully wins like this will help to bring people back to support the team.

“I want us to play decent football, but I also understand the supporters want to see a winning team.

“If the players continue to show the same commitment and work ethic, they’ll never be far away in any game.”

Haveron admitted there were a few ‘harsh words’ spoken at half-time.

He added: “I was disappointed with the first half performance, so I had a go at them at half-time and I got the reaction what I wanted.

“I don’t let players hide. If they want to wear the shirt, they have to be brave.

“They have to be big enough to take criticism when they are not doing it.

“They’ll not read something in the newspapers that I don’t tell them to their faces. The second half was much more positive.

“We looked dangerous going . . . we created chances and we got the goals at the right time.

“It’s back to back wins - something the fans witnessed for the first time this season.

“They gave the players a great ovation on the way off. That tells you they were happy with the shift the boys put in.”

Haveron was also thrilled that Novo finally broke his duck since joining the Glens in the summer.

He continued: “I’ve seen his quality over the last couple of weeks. Nacho’s work rate was fantastic.

“He got his reward for all the work he puts in - the stuff that people don’t seen him do behind closed doors.

“His attitude in training has been first class.”

Reds boss Gerard Lyttle put his team’s performance down as a ‘bad day at the office’.

“We bossed the first half and the game should have been dead and buried,” he said.

“We totally dominated the first half, but the game is over 90 minutes - 45 is not good enough. Glentoran got an early goal which lifted them and the crowd.

“It made is a little bit nervy. We were complacent.” in the second half.

“It just wasn’t good enough . . .it wasn’t acceptable and the boys know that.”