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Important to bounce back: Paddy

Paddy McLaughlin says Cliftonville rose to the challenge demanded by yesterday’s Danske Bank Premiership showdown with Glentoran.

Two first-half goals from Sean Moore ultimately proved enough for the Reds to take all three points despite Terry Devlin pulling one back for the visitors early in the second period.

The composure his side showed in the aftermath of that strike, combined with the quality of their play and sheer will to win, earned the Manager’s acclaim.

“The challenge we set to the players was that top sides bounce back straight away – they don’t dwell on things, they just get back to work,” said McLaughlin.

“The boys trained well this week and I had a good feeling going into the game, especially at home.

“Our performances and energy levels at Solitude have been superb and you can see the response from the crowd.

“We were sold out again today and those fans aren’t coming here to watch a bad side – they’re coming to watch a top side working their socks off and taking so much pride in the jersey.

“Fair play to our supporters, they were brilliant again. Fair play to Glentoran too, bringing their own full house at their end as well.

“You’d two sides going at it and I thought our boys were superb from minute one to 90. Usually, there’s a five or 10-minute spell where you dip your form or let things go a wee bit, but I thought we were excellent for 90 minutes.”

Though he wasn’t short of players to commend right across the park, McLaughlin naturally had words of praise for Moore.

“Sean was superb and they were two great finishes,” he added. “Even outside of scoring the goals, his movement was great too. His decision making in key areas and tight spaces is at a different level.

“When I call on referees, I’m not asking for any favours or for them to do anything special for him, just protect him.

“Look how good he is. If you take that away from him by kicking him up in the air, it’s a sin to the game.

“It’s nothing to do with Cliftonville – Conor McMenamin deserves it as well at Glentoran. If you’ve got talent like that, protect it.”

Amid a host of positives to reflect upon, the Manager did confirm the disappointing news that full-back Levi Ives – who hobbled off in the recent victory over Portadown at Solitude – faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“That’s probably the season for Levi,” said McLaughlin.

“He’s got a torn quad which is the sort of injury that, without surgery, would keep him out for the rest of the season and with surgery, it would probably still be touch and go for him to be back.

“It’s sad news for him and a big loss for us because he’s such a key player. We had to start the season without him, got him back for the middle part but it now looks like we’ll have to end it without him, too.

“Aaron Traynor came in and I thought he was superb against McMenamin, the best wide player in Ireland, plus Luke Turner can play in there, so we have different options in that position but you have to feel for Levi picking up another injury like that.”