Burns out to fire Linfield to double delight
Aaron Burns reckons he could end the season a double winner.
The Banbridge man fired his Linfield side into the Tennent’s Irish Cup final with a hat-trick to see off Lurgan Celtic 3-0 on Saturday.
That tees up a decider against Glenavon on 7th May, a match which will see a clash between Burns and another Bann man Jonny Tuffey.
Before that though, Burns is hoping he can fire the Belfast Blues to Premiership title glory.
“We’re looking forward to the cup final but we have five cup finals left in the league first,” he said.
The first of those is arguably the most important as Linfield travel to leaders Crusaders on Saturday. A win would take Burns and his side to within two points of their opponents and could be the catalyst for title glory.
“I don’t think it’s a title decider but it could be a title pointer,” he said. “It will definitely have a big impact on where the Gibson Cup will go.
“If we can win every game in these final five, we won’t be far away. We know the league is still there for us to fight for.”
Burns’s hat-trick on Saturday took his tally for the season to 23, a fine total from midfield.
Two of those came from crossed balls as Kirk Millar and Stephen Lowry provided the chances on a plate for Burns to finish.
And that, says the 23 year-old, is something that was very much by design: “I’ve scored a few but the crosses we’re getting into the box have been fantastic. Usually when they come in, it’s harder to miss than to score. We’ve put a lot of work in to get them right. It comes from repetition and we put the work in after training sessions to get our crossing and our finishing right.
“As I’m getting older and more mature, I think I’m developing that consistency now.”
Burns was Linfield’s top scorer last season and is second to Andy Waterworth this term. However, he knows individual crowns are not enough to be considered royalty at Windsor Park.
“We have underachieved,” he admitted, as Linfield have won just a County Antrim Shield since 2012.
“At Linfield you have to challenge and win trophies every year. It does take time to get used to that pressure. Playing under David (Jeffrey - ex manager) helped me to understand what is expected.”
Burns is now, of course, playing under the stewardship of Northern Ireland’s record goal-scorer David Healy - a man who he thinks will bring success back to Linfield.
The Bann man said: “David’s a very nice man. He’s very composed and rarely loses his temper. He’s made a massive impact at the club. Obviously November was tough for us with the transition and new staff coming in but he’s brought good people and good players in and we’re on the right road.”
And now Burns is determined to ensure his team drive on to double delight in the massive month ahead.