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Rich rewards

Paddy McLaughlin saluted Richard Brush’s focus after the Cliftonville goalkeeper’s crucial late save preserved all three points in yesterday’s Danske Bank Premiership clash with Institute.

Ahead through Joe Gormley’s drive early in the second-half, the Reds looked on course for a fourth victory in five outings until three minutes from time when Stute’s Joe McCready found enough time and space to fashion a fierce shot which Brush got down to repel at point-blank range.

“That’s a credit to his professionalism,” said McLaughlin.

“Richard hasn’t had too much to do over the course of the game. The defence have protected him pretty well, he’s not had any saves to make but he made sure he wasn’t caught cold.

“He’s kept his focus and his concentration to make a big save at an important time and that’s why he’s one of the best in he division.”

It wasn’t just Brush who earned the Manager’s praise, with the entire team also receiving plaudits despite what McLaughlin admits was a scrappy encounter.

“Institute came here with a plan that made it difficult for us, especially in the first-half. Fair play to them because they worked hard which made us have to work even harder and there weren’t too many chances in the game but Joe showed why he’s the best about by putting away the one that came along.

“We could maybe have had one or two more but it’s another win and clean sheet so I’ve no complaints. The boys had to be patient in their play but they also showed they were prepared to dig in and fight for it when they needed to.

“You sometimes have to play different ways at different times and, as I’ve said before, the way these players take on information and instructions – be it at half-time or changes of formation and tactics during games – is superb. They’re very quick at putting things into practice.

“It’s not something I’ve done. The quality has always been there, it’s just been a case of reminding the players how good they are.”