Paddy McLaughlin admits that, even accounting for the number of changes made to the team, he was disappointed by Cliftonville’s display against Glenavon yesterday.
The Reds signed off from Danske Bank Premiership duty with a 4-0 loss at Mourneview Park, where the hosts were three goals to the good by the interval on a day when youngsters Aaron Donnelly, Caoimhin McConnell and Thomas Maguire were handed starts in addition to second-half outings for Donal Rocks – who made his first appearance in the midweek loss to Linfield – and debutant Dylan Whiteway.
“Even though we had a lot of changes to the team, I’m still disappointed with performance and the result,” says McLaughlin.
“The game was done and dusted by half-time, our decision making and our defending wasn’t good enough.
“We had three boys one booking away from missing the Play-Offs and we had a couple carrying injuries, so I wasn’t prepared to take any chances at all.
“It only takes a mistimed tackle or something silly to earn someone a booking to put them out of the Play-Off, so we decided to rotate the squad a bit.
“I gave a lot of the kids a chance because it’s only fair that we not only get ready for next week, but for next season as well – but we created our down downfall. Our decision making and our defensive play wasn’t good enough.”