Nacho Novo’s hard work behind the scenes is beginning to pay dividends.
That’s according to Glentoran manager Gary Haveron, who saw the former Rangers man net only his second Premiership goal for the club during Tuesday’s 5-0 success at Portadown.
It was only Novo’s sixth league start since joining the Glens in the summer, but his fine finish at Shamrock Park was the cherry on top of an impressive performance for the boss.
“It was great for Nacho to get a start,” said Haveron, after inlcudng Novo from the beginning for the first time since October. “He’s been working very hard in training to get back to that level of fitness where he can be as effective as he was (against Portadown).
“He took his goal brilliantly. He has that quality and Curtis Allen weighed in as well. I was tempted to rest Curtis but I’m glad I played him and he came through unhurt.
“The two front-men were excellent. In midfield, Ciaran Caldwell and Stephen McAlorum were excellent. The wingers were a threat for the whole game and worked incredibly hard.
“The boys out-worked Portadown. We swarmed all over them and we took our chances.
“The quality of all our goals was very good. I’m sure the fans have gone home buoyed by that performance. “When we got our noses in front, we didn’t look back.
“Unfortunately that hasn’t always been the case this season when we’ve put ourselves in good positions but haven’t been able to kill the game off.
“We were clinical. We took our chances but it was just about the attacking power that we had, we were very strong defensively. The platform at the back allowed the boys to play. They were strong, more brave, they played a little bit higher which I wanted them to do after the Dungannon game. I felt we dropped too deep and let them have too much possession of the ball.
“We were very effective and very good on the counter attack. It was a very accomplished performance but we’ll not get too carried away. We were professional and we put them to the sword.”
The win was Glentoran’s first in six matches - a run that Haveron accepts is below-par.
“The boys were in on Monday night and we had a good chat,” he said. “Results haven’t been good enough. They haven’t been what we wanted them to be. We haven’t been ruthless and clinical. Against Dungannon, we had a great chance to go 3-0 up, we didn’t take it and it came back to haunt us.”
Glentoran, of course, are preparing to host old rivals Linfield in Saturday’s headline Irish Cup clash at the Oval. Keep an eye on the Locker Room later this week for lots of Irish Cup previews.