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Football: SMYTH TO HAVE LAST LAUGH; GLENTORAN V LARNE.

Byline: GORDON HANNA

GARY SMYTH has warned sniggering rivals that Glentoran are still capable of successfully defending the championship title they won last season.

But defender Smyth, central figure in the registration fiasco which robbed Glens of five precious points, has also warned team mates: "We must win our next three games starting today at home to Larne.

"It won't be easy because those games include a visit to Solitude where Cliftonville always make it tough and a home confrontation with leaders Portadown who at the moment are a massive nine points ahead of us.

"But that's the challenge and we're up for it. If we come through unscathed it could be the kick-start we need. Up till now we've been struggling a little in league games."

And Smyth sees today's game as a 'must win'. He says: "If we don't do the business against Larne and Portadown beat Newry Town it really does become an uphill task."

Glens won't make a fuss of it, but today also provides them with the extra incentive of proving a point, as Larne is the team they should have been meeting in the semi-final of the CIS Insurance Cup.

Sadly because of the Smyth Affair they were booted out of the competition leaving Larne with a clear run to the final.

Smyth says: "Our dismissal had nothing to do with Larne, just the same they got a walkover to the final and we want to show them we're no walkover."

Larne have experienced campaigners like John Devine, Neil Ogden, Gary Clifford, Jim McCloskey and Neil Candlish on board.

Inver Park boss Tommy Kincaid says: "They will have fire in their bellies but we go into the game in a positive mood. We won't be defending," he added.

CAPTION(S):

TOUGH: Gary Smyth
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:299
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