Glentoran ace Bobby Burns: You have to relish Big Two derbies - you'll look back at them as highlights of your career

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Bobby Burns admits he’s relishing the opportunity to face Big Two rivals Linfield in tonight’s Irish Cup semi-final showdown and says occasions like these are why he decided to join Glentoran permanently almost three years ago.

​The 24-year-old has been one of the Glens’ most consistent performers over recent times but has still yet to taste silverware success with the East Belfast club, reaching the County Antrim Shield final earlier this season before being denied by Larne.

Former Hearts ace Burns has produced some special performances in the Irish League’s most fierce rivalry, scoring four times in six matches against Linfield last season, including a brace in their 3-0 Premiership victory at The Oval.

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He hasn’t got off the mark against David Healy’s side during the current campaign, missing two of their four meetings through injury, but has still shown his instincts, netting in five consecutive matches across competitions in January and February.

Bobby Burns celebrates scoring against Linfield. PIC: Colm Lenaghan/PacemakerBobby Burns celebrates scoring against Linfield. PIC: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Bobby Burns celebrates scoring against Linfield. PIC: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

"I haven't scored against them this season and missed a couple of games with my injury,” he said. “I scored a couple last season...I haven't really thought too much into it, but I'd love to score again.

"It's going to be difficult - they've got a very good defensive record. We've had some great battles with them and it's poised for another good game.

"These are the sort of games why you come to Glentoran when you maybe had other options.

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"Big Two derbies are amazing and I've been lucky enough to score in a couple and win a couple – I've also been on the receiving end of some defeats.

"It's a big game for us...not only is it a Big Two derby but the chance to get to an Irish Cup final, which would be my first, would be huge.

"It gives us a huge opportunity with qualification for the second round of the Europa Conference League qualifying.

"There's a lot at stake, but we have to just focus on this game.

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"You have to enjoy these moments because you'll look back at them as the highlights of your career so I'm looking forward to it."

It has been a turbulent time for Glentoran with interim manager Declan Devine their fourth boss since the start of last season after Mick McDermott, Rodney McAree and Warren Feeney, who departed earlier this month.

"It's always difficult when a manager loses his job and there were a couple of results towards the end that we were really disappointed in as players,” added Burns. “Ultimately we have to take responsibility for that...we know we didn't play to the best of our ability.

"It has been challenging over the last 18 months with a change in managers, but we have to focus on the future and try to play as best we can and finish the season strongly."

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There’s also a chance Burns could face off against brother Paddy, who will likely play a key role for Cliftonville against Larne in tomorrow’s semi-final, but he’s not looking too far into the future.

"That would be amazing,” he said. “My dad and brother had to get tickets for our match so I'll have to get mine for Saturday.

"We're focusing on ourselves and no matter who the final would be's the four biggest cubs in the country left at this stage so whoever wins it will have to fight hard for it."

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