Linfield are stepping into a real cauldron says Mick McDermott

Glentoran Head Coach Mick McDermott
Glentoran Head Coach Mick McDermott
Share this article

Glentoran Head Coach Mick McDermott has wished Linfield well ahead of tonight’s crucial Europa League qualifying round second leg in Azerbaijan.

But the former Iran coach, who has plenty of experience of hostile atmospheres given his time coaching in the Middle East, says the Blues will be stepping into a real cauldron in Baku.

“I think it’s brilliant what they’re doing for local football,” he said.

“I sent a message to David Healy to congratulate him after the first leg.

“It’s brilliant to see. If it had finished 3-1 it would have been great, but 3-2 gives Qarabag some belief now.

“I do know that they’re stepping into a cauldron over there, and they better be ready for that.

“It’s going to be a massive battle in terms of the environment they will be walking into, all the stuff outside of the pitch in terms of the hotel, the buses and even the visas to enter the country.

“I’ve worked in that world and I know what they can do when you land there.

“They are going to have to be strong off the pitch from the day they arrive until the game.”

Meanwhile, Linfield captain Jamie Mulgrew is set to equal Noel Baillie’s European appearance record for the Blues at the Tofik Bakhramov Stadium tonight.

Mulgrew is hoping they can write themselves into Linfield history and qualify for the group stages of the Europa League.

“To beat a team of that calibre was very special and to go out there with something to play for is a great achievement in itself,” he told the BBC.

“I don’t think anyone would have expected Linfield to get this far but the way the format is now with the losers of the early Champions League rounds dropping into the Europa League it gives clubs like ourselves two bites at the cherry and we’ve taken full advantage of it this year.

“We have a big opportunity to make history and make our dreams come true.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved so far. Can we repeat it in the second leg? Who knows?”