Kirk Millar programme article

Posted : 19th March 2022

Linfield winger Kirk Millar believes the experience of the many players amongst the Linfield squad who have been successful with the club is starting to show in the Blues’ pursuit for results at the business end of the season.

It was the late, late show last week when David Healy’s men netted a stoppage time winner in a five-goal thriller against Crusaders at Windsor Park and Millar assures ‘Look at Linfield’ that it was further evidence of the winning mentality amongst the group.

“It’s always good to get a last-minute winner, especially when you’re competing for a title. The atmosphere when Ethan’s header hit the back of the net was unreal. We didn’t want to settle for a point. We’ve got a great squad with players who aren't just good but who also have a bit of know-how on how to win a game and I think that’s starting to show now, coming to the business end of the season.

As Kirk alluded to, the response to the defeat to Glentoran last month has been good, with four wins in a row and the Blues come into today’s match with a slender lead at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, despite a lot of changes on and off this pitch this season but Millar says that at Linfield you can’t make excuses and you have to be up there challenging.

“You’re always expected to be up at the top at Linfield, no matter the circumstances. That’s what you come to the club for; to win trophies. Yes, it’s a transition and it’s not going to be something that works overnight. It will probably be next year or the year after that, that we’ll really see the benefits of the new Full-Time setup. We’re up there still and we’re competing which is good.

“We all knew it was coming but in losing the likes of Waterworth, Lavery, Cooper, Haughey and Stafford, we lost a number of players who were big, big players for Linfield over the years and what we have done to try and cover for that has been to dig in as a team, and the new signings have been brilliant too, as sometimes it can’t be easy to settle so quickly. We’re working hard and every individual knows the game plan, both individually and collectively as a team. We are all drilled to win the ball back early and to work for each other as teammates.”

The former Oldham Athletic winger has made 38 appearances for Linfield this season - scoring three goals – but he’s found it a frustrating stop-start season on a personal level, as he explains.

“We have effectively played two seasons rolled into one because last season ran later than usual as a result of Covid and then we were straight back in for the Champions League Qualifiers. I have played in most games across the last two seasons and my body has started to break down a little as a result. That’s been frustrating because I’ve missed some games and when I got back, I was then suspended two weeks ago, so yes, it’s been stop-start for me at times and it’s been very frustrating.”

As we gear up for another crucial League match, against Dungannon Swifts this afternoon, the 29-year-old describes it as another ‘Cup final’ and with every point crucial, Kirk – a native of the Shankill area – believes the Linfield supporters have a big part to play.

“It’s a case of all eggs in one basket for us now, as we only have the league to focus on and we are treating every match as a cup final, although that is not a new approach for us because we know if we ever take our eye off the ball, it can be costly. It’s crucial we keep getting wins as I say, because there’s only seven matches left. That’s not a lot and it’s so tight at the top that every win counts the same. At Linfield, we always try to look after ourselves and not worry about others. Dungannon will relish coming to Windsor as all teams do but we need to win today. Our supporters have been excellent, all the players appreciate that and they genuinely have a big part to play in the last stretch of the season.”

Good luck to Kirk and his teammates for another massive match at Windsor Park this afternoon, as Linfield continue the quest for a much sought after 56th Irish League title.
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