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Direct action

Paddy McLaughlin was happy for Cliftonville to take the direct route to victory in yesterday’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter with Dungannon Swifts.

After a low-key first-half during which the Reds’ patient, probing play continually ground to a frustrating halt, two long balls down the middle proved the visitors’ undoing as Joe Gormley registered his milestone 200th goal for the Club before going on to complete his hat-trick.

A deflected Ruaidhri Donnelly strike made it 4-0 ahead of Conor McMenamin putting the seal on a five-star display that left McLaughlin more than satisfied.

“We had to work for it but, once we got going, we were very good and always looked dangerous,” he said.

“It’s ironic that we’d worked so hard to score with our usual style of play and then ended up scoring twice from a wee bit of route one stuff.

“They were two good finishes from Joe and the second one was very similar to the one he got at Institute last week, with Conor McDermott playing the long pass for him.”

While many supporters will declare otherwise, McLaughlin was pleased to see Solitude subject to a half-time hailstorm which, as well as shocking swathes of unsuspecting fans into a swift relocation, helped provide the platform for Cliftonville to improve.

“The wind was against us at times in the first-half and the sun had actually been out earlier in the day, which dried the pitch out and stopped us playing the way we want to,” he added.

“We had one or two half-chances but weren’t able to make them count, but the pitch was completely different after half-time and we knew that would really suit us – and so it proved because we scored a few quick goals and really took control.”