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Shape of things to come

Barry Gray has declared himself pleased with yesterday’s work-out against a Swansea City XI – and not just because Cliftonville emerged victorious.

 After falling behind when Jordan Garrick capitalised on defensive hesitancy to put the visitors ahead, the Reds turned things round before the interval, but it was his team’s performance, shape and discipline that most pleased the boss.

 “The early goal was sloppy from us,” he admits.

 “They caught us flat footed. It wasn’t very well worked in any which way from their point of view and for us it was sloppy to concede something like that.

 “We stood back and said let’s see how we’ll react because it was a good test in terms of mentality and the boys dug back in and stuck to what we wanted them to do.”

 Jay Donnelly levelled matters following good work from Daniel Hughes, with Garry Breen’s towering header proving decisive shortly afterwards.

 “We had some great opportunities outside of the goals and we could have had a couple more probably,” adds Gray.

 “But, for us, the key thing was to get in because they played so much the way they did. It gave us a good opportunity to work on our shape and our system and what we needed to do around that.

 “That was priority for us. It was great to get the couple of goals and to get the win, but seeing what we seen from the dugout in terms of our shape and organisation; that was probably more pleasing than anything.”