Glenavon’s New Year transfer window work may have been conducted with less fanfare than some high-profile rivals but manager Gary Hamilton is still confident of key gains.
Success on Saturday over a Crusaders side in sparkling form offered early signs of shoots of recovery within Glenavon’s campaign clouded in inconsistency.
“The January transfer window has helped us and I’ve seen a lift in training in terms of competitiveness,” said Hamilton. “Calum Birney might be reasonably young but to play at Glentoran you need that winning mentality and to be able to take criticism and be mentally strong.
“He’s come in and done well for us, we’ve brought in Conan Byrne and Greg Moorhouse.
“I thought Danny Purkis was excellent today in terms of his overall play, he was superb and deserved a goal.
“He and Greg worked the Crusaders backline really well.
“Dylan Davidson has also been at Glentoran as a young kid and also having boys like Colin Coates and Matthew Snoddy around the place as winners shows in training.
“We want to build with people like that, that winning mentality and today, for the first time in a while, we showed it.
“We went 1-0 down but stuck to the task and didn’t give up, showing the belief teams of the past have done.
“Previous sides never knew when they were beat and that’s something which disappointed me at times this season if a goal or two behind.
“At times on the sideline I didn’t believe they would come back this season, you could see the confidence draining from the players.
“We don’t want people to ever give up, we want people to go to the last seconds and feel they can get something from the game.
“We keep telling players to gamble and expect mistakes and Josh did that for the first goal then Conor too, to have the belief he could score.
“Josh Daniels was back to his old self today too, I think he maybe lacked confidence recently.
“One of his best attributes is his work-rate for a winger and if he could get back on top of that I felt the rest would follow, which happened today.
“We want people to take that responsibility on the pitch.”
Hamilton offered praise for the spirit on show despite difficult weather conditions.
“I thought the first half they had the wind but we probably created the better chances but then they get the goal,” said Hamilton. “In terms of battle, spirit and fight we got that and I felt we were unfortunate to go in a goal down at half-time.
“But at half-time I was still confident we could get at least a draw today and I said that to the players.
“There was no point in me telling the players that, they had to go out with that beleif that, if they showed the same level of commitment and desire that they could get a result over the second half.
“They went out, fought and battled.”