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Table emotion

Paddy McLaughlin has no problem with Cliftonville fans enjoying their side’s rise to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, but has assured supporters that it will not change the mindset of anyone involved with the team.

The Reds hit the summit courtesy of yesterday’s battling victory over Ballymena United, when Ruaidhri Donnelly’s 51st minute goal was enough to secure a seventh consecutive League win at the expense of the very same opponents who last denied them full points.

“The supporters are entitled to enjoy it and be excited about going top of the table but, for the staff and the players, the hard work starts all over again when we go back onto the training pitch,” says McLaughlin.

“It’s still only November and there are a lot of tough challenges to come but we’re happy to put smiles on our fans’ faces. The difficult part is trying to keep them there!

“There are very strong teams right throughout this division and a number of them are a few years in the works. We’re six months into things here.

“To be where we are at the minute and to be producing the performances and results that we’ve been getting is fantastic and the players deserve all the credit and pats on the back for what they’ve done.

“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, whether your opponents are top, middle or bottom of the table, it’s such a difficult division to win football matches in and to do seven in a row is fantastic — and with six clean sheets as well.

“There are six or seven teams who I think are capable of winning the League and just to be in that mix is great for us. If we can keep things going and still be up there come the turn of the year than you never know what can happen but, for now, we’re just getting on with things.”