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Fan and games for Gorman

Joe Gorman savoured a special Solitude atmosphere on Saturday night as Cliftonville overcame Glentoran in the Europa League Play-Off Final – and says he has enjoyed building a relationship with the fans since making his debut earlier this year.

The former Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender put pen to paper with the Reds in December but had to watch from the sidelines until the opening of the Transfer Window before he could play his part – a spell that included heavy defeats to Crusaders and Coleraine on the back of a six-goal thumping by Institute.

His arrival lent Cliftonville some greater defensive stability and, though his Club career started with Irish Cup elimination at the hands of Dungannon Swifts, he was delighted to play his part in the clean sheet that ensured a return to Europe at the weekend.

“I said to Bam Neeson and the other defenders that if we kept Glentoran out, we’d win the game,” he explains.

“I knew we’d score. I had faith in the front players that they’d find a way through and all I was focusing on was making sure we kept a clean sheet. We were battering them at times and it seemed like we’d score sooner or later but all it takes is one mistake and you can find yourself behind, so we were really determined to keep that clean sheet because we knew it would be enough to win the game.”

Having overcome Coleraine in a mammoth Semi-Final clash a few days earlier, the team were relishing the prospect of walking out to a Cup Final atmosphere at Solitude – and the Red Army duly delivered on another dramatic day.

“The fans were great and they have been since the first day I came in,” adds Gorman.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing in front of them and they created a great atmosphere in what was a huge match for us. It’s great to play when you have fans like that behind you.

“We had a great week with two huge wins to get into the Europa League and, with the way the boys are feeling now, they probably think they can go on and win that too!”