Latest News

Levelling up

Paddy McLaughlin had nothing but praise for his players after the performance levels they produced against three full-time opponents in eight days.

After falling to an undeserved loss against Glentoran last Monday evening, Cliftonville pocketed full points at Larne on Friday but had to make do with a share of the spoils against Linfield last night courtesy of the Blues twice hitting back after Jamie McDonagh had netted for the Reds.

McLaughlin admitted to disappointment at not holding on for victory, but credited his squad for yet another high energy display.

“Throughout the 90 minutes, I thought we were superb – the same as Friday and last Monday. The performance levels of the players at the minute is fantastic,” he said.

“We could have won the game and should have won the game but, to be fair to Linfield, late on there, you’re a wee bit worried that the misfortune of only getting a draw might have been worse because they were still pushing for a winner after equalising.

“On the back of playing Monday-Friday-Tuesday against three title contenders, the three performances the boys have put in have been unbelievable, but we’ll take a point and move on with it.

“I’m delighted with how we played. Late on, we probably tired a wee bit but that’s understandable after that run of fixtures against full-time teams in eight days.

“For what they’ve done, the boys deserve all the credit in the world, but we’ll have to wait and see if they get that in the hours and days ahead in match reports and social media.”

Serving the first of a two-game touchline ban after being red carded at Inver Park last time out, McLaughlin’s vantage point in the Directors’ Box gave him the perfect view of McDonagh’s second goal – and a close look at the celebration that could have seen the winger sent off after scaling the fence of the McAlery Stand.

“I was thinking ‘take a touch’ because he had all the time in the world but his confidence is high at the minute. He backed himself and had belief in his ability to take it first time,” added the Manager.

“He’s been assisting people all season long and his record at setting goals up for us has been very good but now in the last couple of weeks, he’s scoring goals himself.

“His contribution to the game was excellent. His work-rate and his drive to go at people was fantastic. He’s got that ability to go by you on the inside or the outside and if you stand off him, he’s got the ability to pick people out and it’s nearly impossible to play against him when he’s in that kind of form so the challenge for him now is to maintain that.

“The fans love him, you can see the excitement in how he gets people on the edges of their seats and if he maintains that from now until the end of the season, we’ll have plenty more goals and assists from him.

“He’s a crowd pleaser, although I think he enjoyed his goal a bit too much. He was on a booking and if he had got sent off for that, he would have been in trouble but that just shows the passion he has for the Club and his team-mates and supporters. You never want to take that away from a player but he just needed to be careful there that the referee didn’t brandish a second yellow card.”