We are massive underdogs - the pressure is on Glentoran, says Glenavon boss Hamilton

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW: Glenavon v Glentoran
Michael Scott

Reporter:

Michael Scott

Email:

michael.scott@yourlurgan.com

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton believes the pressure is all on Glentoran in tonight’s European play-off semi final.

Only a few weeks ago, Mick McDermott’s side was at the top of the league, in the hunt for the Irish Cup and on course for European football.

However, they finished the campaign in third and out of the cup having fielded an ineligible player against Newry City.

That leaves the play-offs as their only hope of playing in the continent this year.

Glenavon, on the other hand, finished the league campaign in seventh place and therefore go into tonight’s game at the Oval as underdogs.

“It’s obviously a difficult task. Glentoran are third in the league and have spent a lot of money – they’ve got a lot of quality throughout their squad,” Hamilton told Glenavon’s official website.

“We’re obviously going to be massive underdogs going into the game, make no mistake about that, but by the same token we’ve proved this year that we can compete with all these teams and give them games, we’ve proved that. We have to have faith in our ability and believe in ourselves and take it into the game tomorrow night.

“It’s a huge game for Glentoran as well with the money they’ve spent and the finances they have. Their fans will be demanding European football and that’s a given when you’re spending that kind of money and have the calibre of player that they have.

“There’ll be a lot of pressure on them going into the game, whereas for us there’ll be no pressure, because if you ask anyone outside our club and fans, nobody will give us a chance tomorrow night. Our boys can go in and play relaxed, with no fear or expectation and enjoy it – hopefully they’ll perform to their capabilities.”

Glenavon go into tonight’s game having won four of their last six games – and one of their two defeats was the last game of the season against Warrenpoint where Hamilton fielded a young side ahead of the play-offs.

Glentoran, meanwhile, took just two points out of the last available 15 in the league.

However, while this will be the fifth meeting between the two teams this season, Glenavon are still looking for their first win of the campaign against the Glens.

That means the Lurgan Blues will need to be at the top of their game to topple the full-timers.

“All of our players need to be performing,” added Hamilton.

“We can’t be carrying any passengers if we’re going to get a result against Glentoran.

“If we can get that out of them and they don’t freeze on the occasion, then we have an opportunity.”

You can follow the match live with our new text commentary service – keep an eye on Your Lurgan’s social media channels for the link from around 7pm.

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