Bobby Burns looking to help set good example for impressive Glentoran youngsters

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After captaining Glentoran during their pre-season victory over Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock, Bobby Burns believes it’s important he takes on more of a leadership role at the club to help the next generation of stars develop.

Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe scored the only goal as the Glens continued to ramp up their preparations for next week’s Europa Conference League first qualifying round first-leg in Malta against Gzira United.

Conor McMenamin, who has been the subject of multiple bids from St Mirren, made his return on Tuesday evening after being involved in Northern Ireland’s UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying defeats to Denmark and Kazakhstan last month.

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Burns wore the captain’s armband in the second-half and after signing a new contract with Glentoran following interest and offers from a number of clubs in England and Scotland, the 23-year-old wants to help set high standards for the youngsters coming through.

Bobby BurnsBobby Burns
Bobby Burns

"It was a good experience,” he told GlensTV. “I'm getting a bit older now so it's important to try and take more of a leadership role within the team and set a good example to all the young lads.

"That's something we're going to try and build on this year setting good standards and it's something we all need to take responsibility for and helping the young lads, because it wasn't too long ago that I was in their shoes. I was glad to see them doing well."

Glentoran remain undefeated during pre-season having also drawn 0-0 with St Mirren and defeated Championship outfit H&W Welders 3-0 on Saturday.

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Kilmarnock finished 10th in the Scottish Premiership last season and former Coleraine midfielder Brad Lyons captained Derek McInnes’ side in Belfast.

"It's great in pre-season to play against teams that are going to stretch you and they have some really good players,” added Burns. “It's a great experience and for us to see where we are at in comparison to that level.

"It's a good exercise for us from a fitness point of view and to get that sharpness. We want to get ourselves as fit as possible and overcome the challenge of playing such a big game so early in the season.

"We're building well together and getting a win and a clean sheet is a positive step and we want to build on that. We haven't conceded yet this season so the longer we can continue that the better and we're really looking forward to next week."

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Feeney was able to give the likes of Bailey Locke, Rhys Walsh and Kirk McLaughlin further chances to impress and he feels they can only continue to improve by being involved.

"Everywhere I've been I've thrown in kids - I think there has to be a pathway if they are good enough,” he said. “The more they train with us the better they are going to get.

"They showed tonight and there were some excellent performances. What I'm begging to the board is to get the pitch wet every game for me because you can see we want to play fast football when you have pace in your team.

"Rhys was outstanding when he came on, Daire (O’Connor), Shay (McCartan) in the first-half held the ball up very well. It's a great exercise for us but not one we will get carried away with."