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Col of duty

Paddy McLaughlin was pleased that Cliftonville’s determination to battle until the final minute earned a reward against Coleraine in yesterday’s Danske Bank Premiership opener.

Trailing to an Eoin Bradley effort midway through the second-half, the Reds emerged from the Showgrounds with a point to show for their efforts thanks to Joe Gormley’s late strike on a day when the boss revealed some of his players struggled against the backdrop of the tragic loss of former Manager Tommy Breslin.

“It’s been an emotional week, Tommy was a legend at the Club,” said McLaughlin.

“It was difficult to get the players focused on the game. One or two of them were heartbroken because they played under him in the title-winning sides.

“It was tough to get them geared up for a match but they brought themselves round and gave it everything they had. It was a performance and a comeback that Tommy would have been proud of.

“It was a hard working performance, probably not great to watch, but coming away from Coleraine with a point, I’ll take that.”

Even so, McLaughlin admitted he thought Cliftonville had passed up the opportunity to register a point after seeing Gormley and Conor McMenamin unable to make the most of promising opening as the clock ticked down.

“You never write us off because the lads have staying power,” he added. “They have that desire to win and not be beaten.

“But when you are looking at the clock and there are 89 minutes gone, you haven’t scored and you’ve missed two or three good chances, you start to believe it’s going to be one of those frustrating days. But fair play to Joe, he has come up with a goal and pulled it out of the fire for us.”