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Settling the score

Paddy McLaughlin says the only element of yesterday’s encounter with Linfield that disappointed him was the result – with his patched-up side coming in for just as much praise as the Cliftonville support.

A host of injuries led to an unfamiliar set-up for the Reds, who went close to scoring through Jonny Addis and Paul O’Neill either side of Jordan Stewart’s headed goal in the early stages of the second-half.

After seeing his side ease their way into the contest, the Manager was encouraged by the attitude and application they showed in taking the game to their hosts, especially after falling behind.

“We came here to win the game,” said McLaughlin.

“I’m disappointed with the result, but the work rate and the desire from my players was absolutely fantastic.

“I’ve no complaints at all with the performance. We just needed a little bit of quality or a wee bit of luck in the final third.

“We had two great chances, both from headers, one from a corner and the other from open play and, on another day, we could have been coming away with a point.”

McLaughlin believes the post-match reception he and his players received from the Cliftonville support was vindication of their display.

“Our fans cheered us off the pitch, they were class again,” he added.

“I think that says a lot about the team’s performance. The supporters came here in their big numbers. They play a huge part in what we are doing at the Football Club.

“That adds to our frustration because when they come out and back us like that, we wanted to give them the result they craved. Hopefully, they were not too disappointed and they understand how tough it is to come to a place like this.”