Glentoran defender Bobby Burns still aiming high

Glentoran's Bobby Burns has been a big hit at the Oval

Danske Bank Irish Premiership: Glentoran v Warrenpoint Town (today, The Oval, 3pm)

GLENTORAN defender Bobby Burns says the nightmare experiences of the past two years haven’t dimmed his ambition of playing abroad again.

The in-form left back has been a key cog in the Oval wheel since making a remarkable recovery from a serious double leg break back in November 2020.

Burns is just thankful to be playing again and hopes he can drive Mick McDermott’s men to some silverware this season.

The 22-year-old has shown incredible resilience on a number of fronts.

After helping Hearts reach the 2019 Scottish Cup final, he headed Down Under to star for Newcastle Jets. However, once COVID hit, he had to leave Australia and returned to Hearts.

More twists and turns awaited the former Glenavon player.

“Last year was unfortunate. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” he said.

“I had to leave Australia because of COVID. Hearts got relegated and they had four managers when I was out on loan. I left and went to Barrow Town, tore a ligament in my ankle and other things didn’t work out there. They had three or four managers when I was there. And then I came back home and broke my leg while on-loan at Glentoran.

“There was about a year-and-a-half period where a lot went wrong and it was a challenge mentally. When I broke my leg the surgeon said he wasn’t sure if I was going to play football again.”

Burns, who signed a permanent deal with the Glens last summer, defied all medical projections and made a full recovery within 10 months.

The Crumlin native has quickly become a regular in Glentoran’s back-line as they trail champions Linfield by a point at the top of the Irish Premiership.

While he’s enjoying life at the east Belfast club, Burns still harbours ambitions of playing abroad again having enjoyed the experiences of Scotland and Australia.

“I’m really enjoying my football at the minute and being at the top end of the table,” he said.

“It just makes you appreciate the games that you play and that you’re fit and healthy to do it. It’s definitely a tough profession and I don’t think people realise how tough it can be. The last couple of years also opened my eyes in terms of trying to get my degree and working a bit harder to get it completed.”

The Glens hope to take full points at home to Warrenpoint Town today and hope Coleraine can take something off the Blues at Ballycastle Road.

“Glentoran have big ambitions to win leagues and cups and to get into Europe and it’s great to be part of that. But I’d still have aspirations of going back over to England or Scotland or abroad and playing there because the experience of Australia was great.”

Burns quipped that there’s never a dull moment playing under Glentoran manager Mick McDermott and enjoys the demands he places on the players.

“He can be quite a strict manager,” Burns said, “a disciplinarian, but he has a good way with the players. It’s hard to get praise from him but he has a lot of coaching experience and he’s worked all over the world. He’s a very interesting person to talk with. Hopefully we can keep winning games under him and see where it takes us this season.”

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