Life at the Irish League’s top table may prove the ultimate goal but it serves up harsh lessons.
That was the viewpoint of Carrick Rangers boss Niall Currie as he finished another Danske Bank Premiership fixture left to rue the fine margins between gain and pain.
“The levels are different and last year in the Championship we may have been able to get away with errors but not now,” said Currie. “In terms of the goals we are conceding, as far as I’m concerned, they have been coming off individual errors and it’s difficult as it seems to be a different player each week.
“Goals change games and Glentoran’s were cheap from our viewpoint but then we failed to make the most of our chances.
“We had a really good first half and Guillaume Keke was excellent for his goal, with our only disappointment conceding.
“In my opinion, we were the better team in the first half.
“But we were okay with sitting 1-1 at half-time at the Oval.
“We talked about it at half-time - to stay in it for the first 15 or 20 minutes of the second half and see how things stands.
“Staying in the game with 20 minutes to go at a club like Glentoran, and ground like the Oval, has to be the plan.
“Then it can become a wee bit itchy for the home side.
“But to come out two minutes or so into the second half and concede is crazy when you think we have three centre-backs in there and one Glentoran player is able to find space between them all to meet the cross.
“At 2-1 the aim is to try and rally and see what develops.
“For the third goal, the skipper has a simple clearance up the pitch and, unfortunately, Mark Surgenor miscues and we’ve found out before, you get punished at this level for mistakes.
“We’ve got to learn to clear our lines properly and cut out the individual errors.
“The frustration is no-one is tanking us and at times. we seem to be the architects of our own downfall.
“But we’ve got to stay in a positive mindset and remember we’ve been competitive in every game.”
Another concern moving forward is the fitness of goalkeeper Aaron Hogg as Carrick Rangers prepare for forthcoming games against Dungannon Swifts and Warrenpoint Town.
“Aaron was feeling it in the warm-up and we will know more this week but must assume he is out,” said Currie. “We had teenager Ben Nicholl on the bench at the weekend and he may need to be blooded as our back-up goalkeeper, Liam McAuley, is suffering from a hairline fracture in his thumb.”