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Fresh start

Paddy McLaughlin highlighted Cliftonville’s energy levels as being key to yesterday’s Danske Bank Premiership victory over Glenavon.

The Reds kicked 2022 off by banking three well-earned points at Mourneview Park, where Levi Ives swept home a first-half free-kick ahead of Ryan Curran sealing the deal in a second-half that should have seen the visitors extend their advantage further thereafter.

Having been sidelined for a fortnight following the late postponement of Monday’s North Belfast Derby duel with Crusaders, McLaughlin was pleased to see a freshness about his side’s performance.

“I thought we were superb throughout,” he reflected.

“We were disappointed the game didn’t go ahead on Boxing Day but it meant we came into this fresh. The energy, organisation and desire was superb and a reward for the hard work the players have put in over the festive season. Now it’s important we keep that going.

“We knew it would be a tough game and we had to work hard to get on top in it. I don’t think any team looks forward to going to Mourneview and expecting to get it easy because it doesn’t work that way. We had to battle to get a degree of control in the game and, fair play to the boys, they stuck at it and stayed on top. They didn’t let energy levels drop and were still pushing for a third goal right up until the end.

“It was a great performance at a difficult venue and we were very pleased to send our fans home happy. They turned out in their numbers to support us again and I’m sure it’ll be the same when we face the Crues at Solitude on Tuesday night.”