Irish Premiership: Glentoran 1-2 Linfield

Glentoran 1-2 Linfield

Third-placed Linfield boosted their hopes of challenging for the Irish Premiership title by beating Glentoran in the Boxing Day Belfast derby.

The Blues took the lead just before half-time when Niall Quinn's long-range free-kick beat home keeper Aaron Hogg.

Paul Smyth's first goal for Linfield made it 2-0 on the hour but Jonathan Smith quickly hit back to keep Glentoran's hopes alive.

Linfield are nine points behind leaders and current champions Crusaders.

The game had been delayed for an hour to give ground staff time to work on the playing surface which was flooded in areas.

After two pitch inspections referee Arnold Hunter gave the go-ahead.

What they said

Linfield manager David Healy: "The players wanted the match to be on and they certainly delivered.

"Paul Smyth has been excellent for us and his first goal for the club goal has been coming.

"I told him before the game that this was his stage, in front of a big derby crowd.

"Hopefully in years to come we will all be talking about this young boy."

Glentoran manager Alan Kernaghan: "We started the game really brightly but did not capitalise on the good periods we had during the game.

"The first goal is important in these fixtures and they managed to get it.

"We had a good comeback but we were a little bit shot shy today."