Gary Hamilton hoping to celebrate a decade in charge with another big scalp

Gary Hamilton says he is relishing his Glenavon side coming up against the top sides in the Danske Bank Premiership, just as he did as a player.

The Lurgan Blues take on the league’s in-form team tonight in the shape of Glentoran.

Mick McDermott’s men have won their last five games on the bounce scoring 14 and conceding only once in that time.

Glenavon are also on a good run themselves having won their last three, includng wins over top six contenders Coleraine and Glenavon in their last two.

Gary Hamilton this week celebrated ten years in charge of Glenavon

Hamilton, who starred for the Oval outfit during his playing days, is looking forward to going toe-to-toe with the Glens this evening and hopefully adding another top six scalp to their tally.

“You always want to test yourself against the best,” said the Lurgan Blues boss.

“Even when I was a player I remember coming down to Glenavon on loan and we were down near the bottom, but you always wanted to test yourself against the top sides.

“You wanted to test yourself against the top players to see if you could get one over them.

“That’s why football is loved all over the world because you see shocks all the time.

“If the favourite always won it would be a boring game.

“Thankfully it doesn’t happen all the time.”

Hamilton celebrated a decade in charge at Mourneview Park this week and has pretty much seen it all in the Irish League.

During his ten years in charge he has led Glenavon to four European qualifications and two Irish Cups.

Hamilton is hoping to lead another charge this term but he is first to admit the quality of the sides they are doing battle with now has been raised yet again.

“All the top six sides at the minute are as good as you’ll play,” he said.

“It’s tough sometimes for teams like ourselves, but on the flip side I’ve been an Irish League person for years and it’s great to see.

“It’s brought a lot of competition and quality to the league and that’s what you want to see.

“It’s a free one for the boys as no-one will be expecting us to go and get a result down there.

“But they have to believe that they can go there and get something.

“The last two performances against the top sides have proved it.”

Hamilton has become Glenavon’s longest serving manager since Jimmy McAlinden left the club in 1968.

Bringing success to Mourneview Park means so much to him given that he grew up supporting the Lurgan Blues.

“I’m honoured to have been in the job for 10 years. It’s not easy in this day and age to be the manager of one club for so long,” he said.

“It makes it even more special as Glenavon is a club I’ve supported my whole life. I’m from here, my Grandad supported them all his life, my Mum and Dad too and of course my two uncles have played for them also, so it makes it really special.

“Bringing success back to the club has meant a lot to me.

“Bringing the club back to Europe, the Irish Cups, having friends and family in the terraces and stands celebrating the successes has just meant so much.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the club.”