IRISH LEAGUE: Festive frustration for Glenavon boss Hamilton ahead of derby date at Dungannon Swifts

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton is ignoring any list for Santa in the countdown towards Christmas but instead putting his focus on compiling what he considers a growing tally of incidents involving match officials which have hurt his club.

The Lurgan Blues boss admits frustration at moments in defeats to both Linfield and Crusaders at Mourneview Park this season he views as significant towards the club’s overall points return.

Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree.

Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree.

“There was an incident with Colin Coates which I felt should have been a booking for players from each side and then left Crusaders with 10 men,” said Hamilton, in reference to last weekend’s 4-3 home loss. “Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter was involved in an exchange towards the supporters without anything happening but I got sent off recently for throwing a chair when no-one was near it.

“I go back to the Linfield game and our frustration at certain decisions, these moments could make all the difference between getting something from a game or not, so it is all about fine margins.

“We could see Linfield and Crusaders wasting time against us and that is a sign of our progress.

“But we still feel, as a smaller club compared to the opposition, we have not been getting certain decisions for us against those bigger clubs.”

Glenavon, having displayed the team spirit which left Hamilton so happy against Linfield and Crusaders, now take on the mantle of the high-profile club for derby dates across four days with Dungannon Swifts and Warrenpoint Town.

“We need to show the same attitude and commitment in the games against Dungannon and Warrenpoint as those perceived bigger fixtures like Linfield and Crusaders,” said Hamilton. “They are derby games and that adds an extra edge.

“Dungannon have made life difficult for us in recent seasons so we must approach it in a positive mindset.

“Now, having played every other team in the division, I rank Warrenpoint Town as the side which has left me most impressed, bar the obvious leading teams.”

Swifts boss Rodney McAree is hoping for an early Christmas present when Glenavon come to town this weekend following two defeats and a draw to date across the December programme.

“We probably feel we deserved more from the games with Coleraine and Linfield but finished frustrated against Ards,” said McAree. “Defensively we have significantly improved across the season and to come out of away trips to Coleraine and Linfield having only conceded one each time is better than some might expect.

“However, we need to make more out of our attacking opportunities and everything we do in terms of training is geared towards positive football so it’s about having that desire to find the end product.

“We will treat Glenavon with respect and certainly expect a test to our defensive strength given the attacking options but our record in derby games is strong overall and we must think of a game home at Stangmore Park as an advantage.”