Kirk Millar’s derby goal caps week to remember for Linfield ace

Kirk Millar celebrates scoring the only goal in Saturday's win for Linfield against Glentoran. Pic by Pacemaker.
Kirk Millar celebrates scoring the only goal in Saturday's win for Linfield against Glentoran. Pic by Pacemaker.
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Kirk Millar’s derby delight capped a dream week for the Linfield winger.

A goal in the closing stages of Saturday’s ‘Big Two’ clash with Glentoran offered additional cause for cheer following an earlier contract extension.

“I’m chuffed to sign here for another three years and weeks don’t get much better to then top it off with a goal against the Glens,” said Millar. “It is my first time scoring a winner in a ‘Big Two’ derby and no better team to score against!

“The game was quite open but you always think you will get that chance on derby day.

“Big Staffs (Mark Stafford) was the last person you’d expect to see in the box but, fair play, he gave it to me.

“All the lads always get on to me about never hitting it first time but if I had hit it first time it would probably have been blocked.

“I’m trying to add more goals to my game off the back of not scoring that many last season.

“The manager always tells us to gamble at the back post as wingers and we’d been doing it all week so, thankfully, it paid off.

“With Bas (Bastien Hery) you know something is always going to happen when he’s on the ball.

“We had a hold of the game but a derby is never like a normal game and we took our chance to walk away with three points.

“It’s good for the league that there’s more competition but we sit a couple of games behind so must just look after ourselves to claw up the table.

“We are missing key players like Jordan Stewart and Daniel Kearns but others have come in, with so many good players in this squad.

“It’s still so early in the season, you don’t win leagues now and there’s always pressure at Linfield but we will only ever take it one game at a time.”

Millar’s magic moment was a combination of team tactics and individual ablity for manager David Healy.

“Kirk has signed a long-term deal which is terrific for me and the player,” said Healy. “He sometimes gets unjust criticism and you also look at Niall Quinn celebrating 250 games today as another who goes under the radar.

“Kirk’s bubbly in the dressing room, hugely popular with the staff, when Kirk is on it, more often than not we win games.

“Even today he must have put eight or nine decent balls into the box in areas where we should be.

“With our wide attacking players, today Joel Cooper and Kirk, we discuss the need to be inside the full-back and around the back post.

“We were frustrated a few times but, thankfully, Kirk was in the right position when it came to his chance.

“Late on you can make poor decisions or snatch at it and initially I was thinking ‘hit it’.

“He knew better and delivered a big goal.”

LINFIELD: Ferguson, Stafford, Callacher, Waterworth, Cooper, Millar, Lavery, Hery, Mulgrew, Quinn, Casement.

Subs: Deane, Shevlin, Clarke, Fallon, McGivern, Mitchell, Reynolds

GLENTORAN: Antolovic, Kane, Peers, Herron, McDaid, McClean, Pepper, Crowe, O’Neill, Plum, Van Overbeek.

Subs: Morris, Gallagher, Murray, Stewart, Smith, Gordon, Duric

Referee: Ian McNabb