Glenavon: Home now where the hurt is for boss Gary Hamilton

Gary Hamilton during Saturday's defeat to Cliftonville. Pic by INPHO.
Gary Hamilton during Saturday's defeat to Cliftonville. Pic by INPHO.

Glenavon, once again, failed to find comfort in home form on Saturday as a fourth Mourneview Park defeat in 2019 left manager Gary Hamilton searching for answers.

Having won on six of the 12 home appearances across senior domestic competitions over the first half of the campaign, Glenavon can point to a defeat of Amateur League-based Rosemount Rec and victory over Ards, then sitting bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership, from January.

Goals from Conor McMenamin and Ryan Curran left Cliftonville with a convincing 2-0 weekend win.

“Away from home I’ve no worries but don’t know what it is when at Mourneview Park,” said Hamilton. “If you look at the whole game in terms of possession of the ball we were probably on top but in the final third at the minute we are lacking confidence - but just at home.

“Whether it’s the atmosphere or a bit of a run of not getting results, I don’t know.

“We’ve put the question to the lads.

“They are all quality players, we went to Coleraine and got a good result, went to Glentoran and got a good result, went to Crusaders and got a good result and played really well.

“But today again we’ve played at home and didn’t really look like scoring goals.

“After the Dungannon game we’ve been working consistently in training on crossing and small-sided games and you can see elements away from home but here at Mourneview Park it’s different.

“Away from home we are big and strong but it’s not one individual, there just does not seem to be the same confidence despite having quality players.

“We started today really well but as soon as we go a goal down at home we seem to really struggle in terms of belief, but yet away to Glentoran we came back from 1-0 down and won and at Crusaders we came back and dominated from 1-0 down.

“As a manager it’s something you find really difficult to put a finger on, how to have that single-mindedness as a player’s mindset.

“Also today I thought there were two handball shouts and a foul on Rhys Marshall in the box.

“I’m not saying they would have got us a result but the incidents came at important stages of the game, at 1-0 down.

“For me at least two out of three shouts were penalties.”

Recently-appointed Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin was left celebrating a third win in four league games under his control - with the same number of clean sheets key to this early progress.

“As a former old-school defender I pride myself on a solid defensive display,” he said. “First and foremost is the result but the big bonus is always a clean sheet.

“Joe Gormley has played four games since I’ve come in and because of the standards he sets it can be seen as a crisis when he doesn’t score but I think today was his best all-round performance.

“Bar Jonny Tuffey making three or four big saves then Joe would have had a couple and he made the right decision when rolling it to Ryan to tap it in for 2-0 so that’s him at the top of his game.

“We dropped Ryan into the hole today and he was excellent, breaking the lines really well and that led to the goal.

“We don’t target any specific area in training as they are all good players.

“We’ve done a bit of defensive shape but to have three clean sheets from four, that’s just the players’ own qualities coming out.

“Going three at the back allows us to get three big strong physical centre-backs out on the pitch, although it depends on the opposition, we will adapt at times but it has worked well so far.

“It’s important to get points on the board to climb up the table as everyone wants European football.”