As well as representing an unfamiliar experience for many Cliftonville supporters, the Reds’ Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup Semi Final against Glentoran at Windsor Park tomorrow night will be the Club’s first ever competitive fixture played behind closed doors.
Though such occasions are by their very nature difficult to keep a complete record of, it’s understood that Cliftonville have only ever ‘officially’ contested six behind closed doors games – all of which were friendlies and, perhaps most ominously of all for fans of a superstitious disposition, none of which resulted in victories.
The first took place at Solitude back on August 19, 1998 when the Reds hosted Malta’s national team on a night that saw the Mediterranean visitors claim a 3-0 win over Marty Quinn’s Premier League Champions.
A further 16 years would pass until the next instance when, just three days after suffering a 1-0 loss to The New Saints on home soil, Cliftonville suffered a similar fate thanks to Ronan Scannell’s own goal earning victory for the Welsh side.
A 2018 behind closed doors tie, meanwhile, saw the Reds travel to Celtic’s Lennoxtown training complex for a meeting with a Hoops’ Development XI in the summer of 2018.
After taking the lead through Ryan Curran, the visitors found themselves behind thanks to the concession of goals either side of half-time only for Conor McDonald to complete the scoring in a 2-2 draw.
Recent weeks have understandably seen further additions to that list, with Cliftonville slipping to defeats in fitness-building exercises against SSE Airtricity Premier Division sides Shamrock Rovers and Finn Harps, while a younger Reds XI was overcome by Crumlin United last weekend to round off an admittedly incomplete review of the Club’s behind closed doors commitments.
Potted History of Behind Closed Doors Fixtures
August 19, 1998
Cliftonville 0-3 Malta
July 8, 2014
Cliftonville 0-1 The New Saints
July 7, 2018
Celtic XI 2-2 Cliftonville
July 11, 2010
Shamrock Rovers 3-0 Cliftonville
July 18, 2020
Finn Harps 1-0 Cliftonville
Crumlin United 2-1 Cliftonville XI