Gary Hamilton full of praise for his Glenavon squad

Gary Hamilton couldn’t praise his Glenavon side enough after they produced a determined display to secure a point against Coleraine on Friday night.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 8:00 am

Point have been hard to come by for the Lurgan Blues in recent weeks as they have struggled to pick up the results their performances merited.

But on Friday they produced a resolute display against the in-form Bannsiders and deservedly took a point. It could have been more if either of Kyle Beggs or Michael O’Connor’s efforts hadn’t hit the woodowork in the first half.

Overall though Hamilton was delighted with the display especially as it was a first start of the season for both Mark Stafford and Aaron Harmon.

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“I was delighted for them considering ‘Staff’ hasn’t played a game this season, nor has ‘Harmo’,” said the Glenavon boss.

“We asked Matthew Snoddy to do a job for us at right back, he has been excellent for us in midfield this season so we took that away from our game as well.

“But it’s just the way we had to do it today because you can’t put two players in who haven’t played 90 minutes and hang them out to dry.

“We put ‘Wardy’ in there as a cover for them, that’s why we changed our tactics tonight for the first time in a long time.

“We felt it worked for us. Peter and ‘Beggsy’ on the counter were super with their pace, and I thought big Fitzy up front was a real handful. He got hold of the ball, won free kicks and worked their centre halves really well.

“Michael O’Connor also stood out again as real class. Even as a manager you’re watching him do things that no-one else on the pitch can do.

“He’s been superb for us and we’ve got him a good pre-season this year. Touch wood he stays fit because when he’s fit he has proved he’s up there as one of the best midfielders in the league.

“Danny Wallace gave us a good shift as well tonight, he was absolutely outstanding.

“Special mention though has to go to James Taylor though who has bided his time for years now.

“He’s got an opportunity now and by heck he’s taken it tonight.

“He’s come for crosses whenever we were under pressure even when the likes of Skinner were coming in on him, he took his hit and won us free kicks.

“He also saved the penalty, it wasn’t just the save it’s the way he got it away from danger as well.

“I’m delighted for him because he is a joy to work with. People like that deserve their chance and deserve a bit of luck when they get their chance.

“He’ll keep his place now, it’s up to him to keep putting in performances like that.

“James deserves the plaudits from tonight and I’m delighted for him.

“I think we had the better chances in the first half and were probably the better team.

“Coleraine are a top side and Oran Kearney is a top manager, one of the best in the division at this minute in time, him and David Healy.

“When you come down to play one of his teams you know what they’re about, and you know you’re not going to dominate a game for 90 minutes.

“But we dug in and defended well and were resolute.”

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