Mick McDermott still confident of Glentoran’s European progress

Glentoran boss Mick McDermott is convinced his team can get the win they crave against The New Saints in Oswestry tonight.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 1:00 pm

The East Belfast boys were held to a 1-1 draw in last week’s Europa Conference League first round, first leg at the Oval - but McDermott reckons they can finish the job in Shropshire.

Jamie McDonagh hit a vital equaliser for the Glens after Leo Smith had given The New Saints a first-half lead with a wonder solo effort.

McDermott admits he didn’t see anything for his team to be frightened of going into the return fixture.

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Glentoran players arrive ready to face The New Saints in Wales. Pic by Pacemaker.

“I believe we have a lot more go give,” he said. “With the five-substitute rule, we can throw the calvary at them if needed.

“TNS looked a big leggy as the game progressed at our place.

“We must go there and do what we do and, hopefully, we can take our chances this time.

“Put it this way, we are not worried about the task.”

McDermott was missing a posse of first-team regulars because of red tape and Covid restrictions last week but is hoping to have a full quota of players making the trip across the Irish Sea.

He added: “Seanan Clucas will be back.

“He had to sit out a ban after being sent off at Motherwell last season.

“Cameron Stewart, Willie Garrett and, potentially, Hrvoje Plum should also be back.

“We are still awaiting on some other boys, in terms of isolation.

“They are in the deadline to be free to play.

“But we have to follow the rules.

“Hrvoje had a little meniscus problem...he was out, of course, with a cruciate problem last year.

“Usually after a meniscus injury, you would be back within a month but the medical people didn’t want to rush him because of his previous injury.

“They wanted him to take his time.

“He’s now back into full training.

“Probably this game is too soon for him, but he’ll be back for the start of the season.

“He sustained the injury against Cliftonville at Solitude.

“I knew there was a risk playing him on that surface and he only lasted 10 minutes - I was kicking myself afterwards.

“We had lost four players on that surface...Willie Garrett twice, Nathan Kerr and Hrvoje.

“Thankfully, they’ve now got a new pitch down.

McDermott is “looking forward” to the challenge.

“The boys only got two weeks off, which was hard on them,” he added. “We looked at the calendar but there was no other option.

“We gleaned enough from our performance in the first leg to be confident going into this game.

“If we perform like that and, in my opinion, we’ve got another gear or two to go up, then we should be fine.

“We looked a little bit nervy in the first half and gave the ball away a few times, which was unlike us – simple passes went astray.

“But our quality came through in the second half, we remained calm.

“I’m looking forward to it – the players are relishing the challenge.

“If we perform the way we can, we’ll be confident of getting a result.”