Monday night’s Setanta Cup disappointment was made all the worse as the boys went into the game on a decent run of form, remaining undefeated in the last fifteen league games and having won our last game here, against Portadown, by a comfortable margin. That said, there is still plenty to play for, as dynamic midfielder Robert Garrett explains.
“It was a good enough win for us against Portadown, although we didn’t play as well as we should have in the first half. We came out in the second and upped our game a bit, got the goal, and then it was quite comfortable for us after that. The league form has been good but there have been a few draws that have disappointed us because we were in a position to go on and win the game and take all three points. All we can do now is target Crusaders and get as many points on board as we can because it looks like Cliftonville are going to run away with the league. We have the European place in mind and we need to finish second because Europe is a big thing for Linfield. If we don’t win the league it’s a disappointment for us, but if we miss out on the top two then it is a massive disappointment.”
Monday night’s 4-1 defeat in Dublin was one of those nights for the club and, although a spectacular BJ Burns goal seemed to have us right back in the game, it wasn’t to be, much to the disappointment of players and travelling fans alike.
“I think during the game we had our shape and we were set up well but in the first half we kept shooting ourselves in the foot because, when we got the ball, we kept giving them it back, and both the goals we conceded were pretty poor by our standards. You can’t give goals like that away, and all four were poor. We come out in the second half and started brightly, did what we had talked about at half-time, and got the goal back. Then we went on and shot ourselves in the foot again and the third and fourth goals just killed it. If we had scored the penalty it would have given us a chance to get back at Windsor Park but it will be a tough ask to go out and win 3-0 now. Having said that, penalties are missed every week and there’s no blame attached to Brew whatsoever. Shamrock Rovers are a very good side who used the ball well, but I think we might have made them look better than they actually were. When we did come out and had a go at them in the second half and got the goal back they looked rattled, and it looked like we could have gone on and got another one until they got their third.”
Setanta Cup disappointment aside, we return to league duties to day before the rematch against Rovers on Monday night, and today will provide a stern test as Distillery are deep in a relegation battle, but they showed last week that they are no pushovers.
“They are in a battle all right but they drew 1-1 with Crusaders in the Irish Cup last week and Seaview is a tough, tough place to go. They will be fighting for their lives so we know it won’t be an easy task at all today, but we have to get the three points and try to keep the pressure on for second place. It is tough playing Saturday and Monday, but a lot of clubs are in the same position, so we just have to get on with it. Perhaps the fact the League of Ireland clubs are fresh and just going into their season gives them a slight edge because, when we come back at the start of the season, you just can’t wait to get out there and get the games under way. It might give them a slight edge, but, at the same time, we were going into the game buzzing with our recent form and looking forward to trying to get a positive result, so I don’t know.”