Shield victory now history, Ferguson warns players

Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson.
Ballymena United manager Glenn Ferguson.

BALLYMENA United boss Glenn Ferguson has warned his players that their County Antrim Shield heroics will quickly be forgotten if they allow their league form to suffer.

United’s players followed up the high of their Shield final victory over Linfield in midweek with a dreadful performance on Saturday as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at relegation strugglers Donegal Celtic in the Danske Bank Premiershp.

“It was certainly a wake-up call for us,” Ferguson told Times Sport.

“You can’t win a trophy and think you’ve arrived – it doesn’t work like that.

“I told the players before Saturday’s game that the Shield win is gone, you can’t do anything else about it.

“I told them they have to perform in the league to keep their place in the team.

“You can’t live off it (the Shield win), you have to move on to the next game.

“The way the results went throughout the league on Saturday, we missed out on a chance to make ground in the table, which was another disappointment.

“The games come thick and fast and we need to put it right.

“We can possibly make a few changes for this week but we need to be better all over the park.

“If we keep losing league games and don’t finish in the top six, the County Antrim Shield win will mean nothing to me,” added Ferguson.

United will attempt to get back on track this Saturday, when they entertain Portadown at the Showgrounds (3pm).

The game will be preceded by the club’s second sold-out corporate dinner of the season, where the guest speaker is Nuala McKeever.

The event, which is sponsored by Kerr’s Tyres, will be attended by guests including 1980 County Antrim Shield-winning captain Graham Fox, while the trophy will also be on display.

Match ball sponsor is the Progressive Building Society, while supporters are asked to note that the Development Committee stall will not be open before Saturday’s game but will be open as usual at half-time.