Robbie McDaid ready for return of Glentoran’s ‘12th man’

Robbie McDaid is relishing tonight’s return of the Oval roar as Glentoran fans flow back across the turnstiles in big numbers for the visit of Ballymena United.

By Patrick Van Dort
Friday, 10th September 2021, 1:00 pm

Following defeat of Dungannon Swifts and loss to Cliftonville on the road to kick off the Premiership campaign, the Glens now face a first fixture in front of home supporters.

And McDaid, who scored in that success over the Swifts, cannot wait for the chance to thrill under the floodlights with coronavirus restrictions on crowd numbers working back towards capacity.

With four years at Glentoran, McDaid stands as one of the longest-serving players in the current squad following a significant squad overhaul since Mick McDermott’s arrival as manager in 2019.

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Glentoran's Robbie McDaid is determined to extend Glentoran's strong run of home results tonight against Ballymena United. Pic by Pacemaker.

“We were talking in training the other day about how someone like Luke McCullough has been here over a year now but never played in front of a packed Oval,” said McDaid.

“With it being a Friday night game we are expecting a really big crowd and, as players, we know just how much an impact our fanbase can have on games.

“It is something Mick has stressed to us since coming in, the importance of turning the Oval back into a fortress as maybe in recent years it had lost some of that fear factor for opponents.

“But our record has been really strong without the crowds in getting that 12th man back behind us can only help.

“It is always down to the players in any game to stamp that authority on a match and, home or away, our goal obviously is to get the win.

“But making the Oval strong was definitely a priority and if that momentum off results can give us any edge over teams aware of our home form then that’s brilliant.

“This is the best squad I’ve been involved in at Glentoran so I think fans are licking their lips at the chance to get back in and watch games.”

With talent, particularly a squad built on high-profile signings and record-breaking fees, comes pressure to deliver the top prizes.

The Glens face Ballymena aiming to bounce back from defeat to a Cliftonville side now top of the table with maximum points.

“At a big club there will be noise around every result - win, lose or draw,” said McDaid.

“It’s such a competitive league that teams will certainly take points off each other so we must take it one game at a time.

“Ballymena will be a tough test but we focus on our preparation and look to Friday to put things right.”


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