‘Time to end the hurt’

It’s time for Glenavon to put their 17 years of hurt to an end on Boxing Day.

The Blues haven’t beaten their rivals Portadown in the traditional festive derby fixture since 1996, when they claimed a 1-0 win at Mourneview Park.

Since then, the sides have met 11 times on Boxing Day or December 27 with the Ports winning a startling nine of those games.

Glenavon, however, ran out 4-2 winners largely thanks to Guy Bates’ hat-trick, the last time the sides met at Shamrock Park back in October.

Now, the Blues host the derby (kick-off 3pm) and Hamilton wants to buck the trend of all those festive defeats.

“It’s a long, long time since Glenavon won,” he said,

“Those things are there to be broken. It’s not going to be easy, but it would be nice to get that monkey off our back.

“We’ve got a few of them off since we came to the club. We hadn’t beaten Glentoran for a long time either. We also hadn’t won at Shamrock for a while, or beaten Portadown at Mourneview before Brendan Shannon scored the winner under Marty Quinn.

“It’s good that we’re starting to break a few trends. Hopefully if we all turn up on Boxing Day, the attitude and desire are right and the crowd is behind us, we can do it again.”

Hamilton says that he will have Rhys Marshall, Shane McCabe and Kyle Neill at his disposal after their suspensions were used up in the postponed game at Warrenpoint on Friday. Although the game was called-off at half-time, Hamilton says the suspensions are cleared as he was involved in a similar incident during his spell at Glentoran.

“I was suspended for a game against Glenavon. About 15 or 20 minutes into the game, it was suspended due to heavy rain and that used up my suspension because the game had started. I was free to play in the next game.

“I believe that Kris Lindsay’s booking on Friday night stands and so I would like to think the suspensions are used up as well.”

Now the boss wants his boosted squad to perform to their capabilities in order to get that all-important Boxing Day victory.

He said: “It’s going to be a tough game. They’ll be looking for revenge for the 4-2 defeat at Shamrock.”

“I’m honest enough to say that on paper, Portadown should be beating us. There’s no doubt about that because of the quality they have in their squad and the money they pay their players.

“We proved in the last game that if you show the right attitude, anything can happen in a derby game. Sometimes that can bring you a long way in football, as we showed that night in October.”