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Crime or reason

Paddy McLaughlin believes it would have been “a crime” if Cliftonville hadn’t emerged on top from last night’s County Antrim Shield Quarter Final with Linfield.

Leading 2-0 through goals from Ronan Doherty and Ryan Curran – who struck either side of a disallowed Conor McMenamin effort – the Reds were pegged back before Richard Brush’s heroics earned penalty shoot-out joy.

“We controlled the game for large periods and some of the football we played was fantastic,” says McLaughlin.

“Our two goals were superb and the one that was ruled out for offside was one of the best goals I’ve seen – so I’m hoping he actually was offside because it would have been a shame to have a goal like that disallowed for no reason.

“The patience in our build-up to the first goal was brilliant. We must have put about 20 passes together before Ronan put it away.

“It was frustrating that we didn’t win it in 90 minutes but the most important thing is that we got there in the end. It would have been a crime if we hadn’t made it through.”

Pleased as he was with the overall team effort, there’s no surprise that Brush – fresh from matchwinning contributions against Glentoran and Larne – was singled out for praise.

“After what he has gone through, it says a lot about him to come back and put in the performances he has been delivering,” adds the boss.

“Brushy’s been fantastic since the day I walked in through the door and he’s shown time and again how good and important a player he is for us.

“What happened to Richard would have probably been career ending for anybody else, but he loves playing for Cliftonville and it’s great to have someone like that on your side.”