Paddy McLaughlin says that Cliftonville’s “resolve and determination” earned them a North Belfast Derby point on a day when their overall performance was well below par.
Crusaders had looked on course for victory courtesy of Jordan Forsythe’s 62nd minute strike until Daniel Kearns pounced for an injury-time leveller to maintain the Reds’ unbeaten start to the season.
McLaughlin admitted that the team’s overall display was not in keeping with recent form but, having conceded last-gasp levellers in the previous three League meetings with the Crues, he was more than happy to turn the tables at Seaview.
“From the off, we didn’t get our foot on the ball and play enough,” he said.
“When you don’t play well against one of the top sides in the division, you take a point if it’s offered.
“We’re really disappointed at how we performed. We’ve set a high standard and our poor performance almost cost us the game but, fair play to the boys, they dug in, did the ugly stuff and they probably deserved the draw.
“It’s hard to beat Crusaders in a scrap because they are good at it. The boys have a tougher mentality this season. We dropped silly points last season and we have learned lessons. The resolve and determination got us a point.
“Crusaders have scored late goals against us and it’s been disheartening, it’s been disgusting so it’s nice to give them a taste of that medicine I suppose. No-one likes conceding late on and we certainly know how that feels.”