Shay McCartan: Glentoran now look at every game as must win

Shay McCartan: Glentoran now look at every game as must win

Shay McCartan insists there is no point in dwelling on the past as Glentoran look to get their season back on track against Cliftonville at Solitude on Tuesday night.

The East Belfast side, who have looked untouchable in their first 16 games, have now won just once in seven games – and that was against basement side Portadown – amid a string of results that have seen them on the ropes.

Not only have they been knocked out of the County Antrim Shield and the BetMcLean Cup – beaten on both points by rival Linfield – but the Glens have slipped to fifth in Danske Bank’s Premiership table, nine points behind leaders Larne, though Tiernan Lynch boys have played three more games.

Glentoran suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat to David Healy’s in-form Blues last time out and, due to the freezing weather conditions, that horrific performance at the BetMcLean Oval on December 6 has since smoldered with scheduled games against Glenavon and Carrick Rangers coming into conflict with the elements .

They ended up being booed off the pitch by their fans, who witnessed their team being contested, deranged and basically outclassed that night.

Those same fans had big ambitions to see the Gibson Cup return to east Belfast for the first time since 2009, but recent events suggest the wait could be ongoing.

Manager Mick McDermott admitted the performance was “unacceptable” after the cup defeat but added “it is not the time for panic”.

McCartan, returning from a seven-game suspension after the big Boxing Day showdown with Linfield at the Oval, insists it’s about getting back to the basics that reaped such rich dividends earlier in the season.

“The squad has been reduced in recent weeks due to injuries and illness,” said the former Northern Ireland international.

“I hate to say it, but it probably suited us that some games were canceled due to bad weather.

“We’re starting to get some guys back, so that’s all positive. Apparently the weather had an impact on training to find a place to play. The oval wasn’t an option so we went to Harland & Wolff Welders and also up to the Ashfield School.

“We have a good gym at the Oval, so we worked with what we have.”

With Cliftonville getting their own campaign back on track with yesterday’s 4-1 win over Portadown, it’s hardly the ideal game for the Glens to start their recovery.

“We treat every game as a competitive game,” added McCartan, who was sent off after his side lost 1-0 almost a month ago.

“Everyone knows that in this league any team can beat another, whether you’re in the top six or bottom six.

“We don’t look too far ahead, we take every game as it comes. It’s going to be a challenge, but it’s one we have to face head-on.

“We still have a lot to play. If we win our three games in a row, we’ll be at the top of the table together. Then next month is the Irish Cup.

“The fans have remained loyal to us through our mediocre results, fair play towards them. Yes, we are out of the Shield and the (League) Cup, but the focus is now on the next game, there is no point in dwelling on the past.

“It’s about going back to basics.

“At the beginning of the season we flew – we kept clean sheets and scored a lot of goals. Now it’s about getting back to that.”

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