They’ve had a dream start to their season with Friday’s defeat in the Steel & Sons cup by Sirocco Works the only minor blip to-date.
However, the attentions of everyone associated with Glebe Rangers, is fully focussed on tonight’s JBE League Cup second round game against Linfield at Windsor Park.
It was the draw everyone at the club had hoped for and tonight (Tuesday) the dream becomes a reality as Jason Wilmont leads his squad onto the pitch at the National Stadium.
“This is a big night for Glebe Rangers,” said Wilmont. “It is absolutely brilliant for me to be leading my team out against Linfield but I am so delighted for all those who have worked so hard behind the scenes. All their hard work has paid off and I don’t just mean in the last few weeks. Some people have worked tirelessly for year, a couple of people in particular have been involved for the past 25 years, so this night is for them.
“There has been amazing interest in the game and everyone is talking about it. We have had interest in potential sponsors and things are really good both on and off the pitch at the moment.”
Following the excitement of the draw for the JBE League Cup on 22nd August, Glebe Rangers found themselves securing another senior cup, this time in the County Antrim Shield.
“The draw for the Shield was made on Monday night and we got Ballymena,” added Jason. “We have never played them before so it was another great draw for us. We would have ideally like them at home but we are more than happy to travel to Ballymena.
“It was a popular draw with some of our lads because we have around five who are from the Ballymena area and who support the club so that game will be a big occasion for them.
“I know there were a few folk who were happy when Spike Ferguson referred to us as a junior club when he was interviewed about the draw. It was a bit disrespectful of him and when you look at the poor start Ballymena have had to their season, we will certainly be going in to the game to play some good football and show him we are far from being a junior club.”
With the County Antrim Shield draw made and plans well underway for the big game at Windsor, Wilmont and his team turned their attentions to Friday evening’s game against Sirocco Works in the Steel & Sons Cup.
Up to this point the Glebe had enjoyed an impressive start to the season, winning two and drawing one in the league, however things didn’t go their way as they had a man sent off and lost to the Belfast side on penalties.
“We were absolutely brutal on Friday night,” commented Wilmont. “I think a few of the boys had tonight (Tuesday) on their mind to be honest. I had a decent side out although I played a few boys who hadn’t had an awful lot of game time. We did well for the first 15 minutes and then after that we just weren’t at it at all. We were all over the place.
“It was a typical game against an amateur league team, they just came down and tried to kick us off the park. We had Ian Christie sent off for nothing and now he misses Tuesday night plus a further two games which is an absolute disgrace. He is totally gutted about it and it’s the last thing I needed too.
“That’s two red cards in two weeks we’ve had. Last week it was Peter Kennoway but at least he can play tonight, however, he will miss the County Antrim Shield game against Ballymena and he’s a Ballymena boy so he will miss the chance to play against his home club. It’s madness because it comes down to referees not doing their job right and it’s so frustrating because it costs me good players when every game and every point is vital to us this season.
“To be honest I think we’re probably better out of the likes of that cup because the league is our bread and butter this year and we need to concentrate on that. There is too big a risk playing against amateur teams in competitions like this because they come to try and intimidate you and to kick you about the pitch and Friday night proved the point and it proved costly as Ian is missing the biggest game of his life.”
With Friday night now nothing more than an unpleasant memory, Jason and his players can turn their attentions fully to the biggest game in their careers.
“Everyone has been looking forward to this game so much,” said the Glebe boss. “Its great to see the players get the chance to play in a game like this.
“I don’t think I’ll be needing to do much of a team talk, it won’t be too hard to get them motivated to play against Linfield. There’s not too many people from around here can say they’ve played in a competitive game against the biggest club in the country. I’ve told them to go out and enjoy it. I’m not going to ask them to play any different from normal. I want them to go out there play their game and express themselves when they get the ball.
“Linfield will play a strong game because they’re going well and scoring goals at the moment and they’ll want to keep that momentum going which is understandable.
“We have round 200 supporters that we know off travelling up so it will be a great occasion for the players. Hopefully it won’t be too big an occasion for the lads, they just need to play their normal game and block it out although that’s not easy. There’s not too many of us have been involved in a game of that magnitude. We’ve played against senior teams before but never against Linfield at Windsor.
“There’s no doubt we’ll all be nervous, I just hope we can go out there and put in a performance for ourselves. I want us to go out and play hard and with pride and I can’t ask for much more than that.