Paddy McLaughlin was reluctant to be overly critical of his players on day one of the new Danske Bank Premiership season – but says he doesn’t expect to see another performance like the one delivered in yesterday’s 3-1 defeat at Coleraine.
The Reds lost on the opening day of a League campaign for the first time since 1998 when Evan McLaughlin made the most of two first-half errors to put the Bannsiders in control and, though Ryan Curran pulled one back amid a second-half rally, the hosts sealed the points when Jamie Glackin netted with virtually the final kick of the action.
“We don’t like going in too deep on our boys after one game,” said McLaughlin.
“It’s a disappointing performance because we’ve been so good over this last year. But I said to the players if they are living off last season then they’re at the wrong Club because they won’t be judged on what happened last season – they will only be judged on what happens now. I don’t expect it to happen again.”
The boss was frustrated to see his side commit so many uncharacteristic mistakes, both inside and outside of the incidents that led to the Bannsiders finding the net.
After an off-key first-half, Cliftonville improved after the interval and almost levelled when a Ronan Hale thunderbolt clattered the woodwork but, unable to generate the late momentum they needed in their search for an equaliser, fell to what McLaughlin conceded was a deserved defeat.
“We’ve had so many individual errors throughout, but we have to learn a harsh lesson and bounce back from it next week,” he added.
“Coleraine deserved the win and we didn’t deserve anything from the game.
“We pulled the game back at 2-1 and we pushed for an equaliser, which is probably something you wouldn’t have expected after watching the first half-hour.
“After Ronan hit the crossbar, I thought we might have got an equaliser, but another error at the end seals the game for them.”