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Fine festive fourm

Paddy McLaughlin saluted Cliftonville’s “brilliant” festive points tally as the Reds made it four wins from four during the holiday period by getting the better of Glenavon yesterday.

Substitute Thomas Maguire’s finish on the stroke of half-time proved enough for the hosts to take all three points at Solitude, where the Manager admits things weren’t always easy on the eye.

“I’m sure it was tough for the supporters to watch but, at the end of the day, it’s hard to criticise the players when you think of everything they’ve given over the last two weeks,” said McLaughlin.

“To get 12 points out of 12 over Christmas and New Year is a brilliant return. It’s a crazy schedule that all sides have and it is a big ask for every Club and every set of players.

“But we are more than happy. The players have been fantastic.”

While disappointed to lose skipper Chris Curran to a hamstring injury after just 17 minutes, McLaughlin was delighted that replacement Maguire emerged the matchwinner.

“Thomas has that in his locker,” he added.

“He has been excellent over the festive season. He is dangerous in the final third and to have him come on and score the winning goal is great.

“He was brilliant for us up at Larne the other day and we’re delighted for him that he’s come on and got the goal.”