Barry Gray paid tribute to his players after goals from Garry Breen and Joe Gormley earned yesterday’s 2-1 victory over Dungannon Swifts at Solitude.
Though forced to dig in late on as the visitors threatened to level matters, Gray was satisfied with his team’s performance and argued that few eyebrows would have been raised had it been the first – rather than last – 13 minutes that the Reds found themselves under pressure.
“I wouldn’t read a great deal into the end of the match because, overall, we deserved to win it,” he said.
“I think some of our players thought we were lucky to hold on and win the game, but I told them that’s not the case – apart from the final 12 or 13 minutes, we were well on top.
“Because of the way the season has started for us, once Dungannon scored we stopped playing the way we had been and didn’t have the composure we would have liked. That’s obviously not ideal, but it will come and I’m not going to be critical of the players for that at the minute.
“People can say it was last-ditch defending from us at the end, but the defenders did the jobs they’re paid to do and dealt with the pressure we were under. Credit to Dungannon, they gave us plenty to do towards the end of the game but that shouldn’t take away from what happened in the previous 70-odd or 80-odd minutes.
“We’re nowhere near the levels we’re capable of and it’ll take us time to get there, but I’m starting to see greater understanding between players and in certain partnerships.
“The players heard a lot from me during the week and they put a lot of that into practise here. That’s not credit to me, that’s credit to them, and hopefully we can keep building on that.”