Portadown’s most successful captain is urging the current squad to shake off Irish Cup disappointment and look to the past for motivation towards future glory.
Brian Strain was back in the Ports spotlight on Saturday night at the celebration to honour the 25th anniversary of the club’s historic first Irish League title.
Strain lifted the championship trophy on that landmark day in 1990 then went on to captain the Ports to a league-and-cup double the following season.
The collective trip down memory lane by past players and fans also included words of inspiration for the modern Ports attempting to carve out a fresh chapter of club history.
“It was a brilliant night on Saturday and great to catch up with so many former team-mates and friends,” said Strain - pictured second left at the awards with, from left, Richard Clarke (past player), David Miskelly (current player) and Jason Hall (supporter). “However, I was also thinking about how the current players must have felt with the Irish Cup final defeat to Glentoran still fresh in everyone’s minds.
“I would have loved us to be celebrating an Irish Cup win on the same night as our league anniversary.
“I know from personal experience how much it hurts to lose an Irish Cup final and that 1990 defeat to Glentoran left everyone gutted, even if it came so soon after winning our first-ever league.
“We used that pain to push on together and the challenge is to regroup then move forward as we have some real quality at the club.”
Strain, Stevie Cowan and Sandy Fraser were just some of the club legends in Tandragee for the special night.
“The reception we get from the club is always so warm and none of us take that for granted,” said Strain. “Even after that 1990 Irish Cup defeat, the reception we got back in town from the fans gave everyone such a wonderful lift.
“I would love the current players to experience that joy.”
See next week’s ‘Times’ for a picture special from the anniversary night.
Visit www.portadowntimes.co.uk for video interviews.