Paddy McLaughlin believes the bond between players and fans can drive Cliftonville to County Antrim Shield glory this evening.
Ahead of the Reds’ clash with Ballymena United in the Windsor Park decider, the Manager has spelt out his own personal desire to see people at the Club rewarded with the first senior silverware of the season.
“I’m so pleased for the players to represent the Club in a Final and have a chance to play for a trophy,” he says.
“I’m also delighted for the fans who have been superb since I came in. They have offered us wonderful support, turned up in their numbers and it would be brilliant to win something for them.
“Obviously I want to win it myself but I want to win it more for the players and supporters for all their hard work all season.
“There is a bond between the players and the fans and that relationship will be important at Windsor Park.
“I’m a believer that success breeds success. Winning the County Antrim Shield would be a confidence boost for the team and the supporters going forward.
“It is a brilliant experience for players when they win a trophy and for this group, I think it would give them a taste and desire to win more. It would also help us for the title run-in and the Irish Cup because success drives good players on.”
While looking forward to the occasion, McLaughlin insists that no heed should be paid to Ballymena’s lowly League position and, with each side having claimed single-goal victories over the other in both of this term’s prior meetings, he is well aware of how keenly-contested tonight’s match will be.
“The players have worked extremely hard and I know they will be ready for the Final but we are expecting a very tough match because Ballymena are a good side,” he adds.
“It will be a tough game, I believe Ballymena to be a stronger team than their current League position might suggest because they have been plagued with injuries this season.
“Any team managed by David Jeffrey will always give you a game. He’s not the most successful manager in the Irish League for nothing. He will be determined to add more silverware to the trophy cabinet but we are busting to win the Shield as well and will be going for it.”
County Antrim Shield Final Tickets
Social Club: 5.30pm-7pm