Paddy McLaughlin outlined his players’ desire after Cliftonville completed their season with a 2-1 victory over Glentoran at The Oval last night.
Goals from Cricky Gallagher and Ryan Curran ensured a winning end to a Danske Bank Premiership campaign that saw the Reds lose just four matches and finish a point behind Linfield at the summit.
With the League Cup and European qualification already in the bag, McLaughlin – whose team wound up 22 points better off than last term – was delighted with Cliftonville’s display in east Belfast and believes the last nine months have laid foundations that can be built upon.
“We had nothing to lose and everything to gain, unfortunately it didn’t work out for us elsewhere but we can’t fault the players, they’ve done everything over the course of the season,” he said.
“They’ve left their heart and soul on the pitch in every match we’ve asked them to. I think that was our 50th game and there weren’t too many we were disappointed in, they’ve been superb all season.
“We’ve come within a point of winning the League and that’s incredible. I’m so proud of the players and so proud to be part of the Club. It’s important now that we try to build on this next year and beyond.
“The hunger and desire is there. The players finished a point behind Linfield, won the League Cup and qualified for Europe and there were players in the dressing room with their heads in their hands – that’s desire and it’s been such a turnaround over the last couple of years.
“At this stage of the season, we’ve usually been fighting to get into the Play-Offs but now we’ve finished second, so it’s an incredible turnaround in mentality this year and we’ve got to maintain that and build on it.
“There are no regrets. You probably regret every point you drop but if you live on regrets, you’ll never move forward.”