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Hamilton Highlights Disadvantage of Playing Against Full-timers On Weeknights

.... but is he right?

Gary Hamilton made his point several times after his team’s 0-2 defeat at the Oval last Friday night....

Gary Hamilton recently celebrated 10 years in charge at Glenavon, his boyhood club. So he should know what he’s talking about...

His side were on a positive run of form heading into last Friday night’s league meeting with Glentoran at The Oval. But they came unstuck.

During his post-match interview, the Glenavon boss went to great lengths to highlight the particular disadvantage he believes part-time clubs face when meeting their full-time counterparts in a week-night fixture.

He pointed out that the full-timers can focus on the game and rest throughout the day, while the part-time player is likely to be “shattered” on a Friday night after a week at work.

But is he right?

Common sense alone would suggest his point is valid, and in fact the raw data somewhat backs up the Glenavon boss’s viewpoint.

In 38 Saturday league meetings this season where a part-time club has faced one of the four full-time outfits; Crusaders, Glentoran, Larne and Linfield, the full-timers have enjoyed a win rate of 60%.

This increases to 63% using the same criteria for match-ups on Fridays and to 75% for matches played between the two statuses on Tuesdays. Overall for non-Saturday games the full-timers have a 69% win percentage compared to only 60% on Saturdays.

Gary Hamilton therefore probably does have a point. He certainly thinks so. But that just makes you wonder why Glenavon agreed to play Glentoran on a Friday, given the manager expected his club to be placed at a disadvantage by doing so.

Which PT clubs have fared best?
Ballymena, Cliftonville and Coleraine are the PT clubs punching hardest when it comes to bloodying the noses of full-timers.

The Braidmen have beaten Crusaders in league play this season, Paddy McLaughlin’s Reds have accounted for Glentoran and the Bannsiders have seen off Crusaders. All three have also beaten Larne.

The Inver-men along with Crusaders, are the only FT outfits to lose three times to PT clubs in the league and Coleraine is the only PT outfit to win away from home against one of the full-time sides. They defeated Crusaders 2-0 at Seaview.

Glenavon is the only other PT club to win against one of the full-timers (1-0 v Crusaders).

The seven results in which PT clubs have prevailed over FT clubs are as follows -

Cliftonville v Glentoran (1-0)
Crusaders v Coleraine (0-2)
Cliftonville v Larne (2-1)
Coleraine v Larne (3-1)
Ballymena v Crusaders (2-0)
Ballymena v Larne (2-1)
Glenavon v Crusaders (1-0)