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Pulling up threes

Jim Magilton declared himself “delighted” with Cliftonville’s 3-0 victory over Newry City last night but, as was the case against Glenavon at the weekend, he felt his team had more to give.

Three first-half goals – dispatched by Luke Turner, Ben Wilson and Rory Hale – made for a successful visit to The Showgrounds, where the Reds’ start gave the boss particular satisfaction in light of City’s confidence-boosting victory over Carrick Rangers on Saturday.

“It’s not an easy place to come, especially on the back of their fantastic away win, so we had to be ready, we had to be prepared and recognise that they have lots of strengths,” said Magilton.

“Some of our attacking play in the first-half was fantastic. We broke at pace and made quality decisions with quality finishes and, overall, I’m delighted.

“Attacking and defending has to be done with the same intensity and that’s the common theme in our dressing room – when we don’t have the ball, we get the ball back as quickly as we can; and when we do have it, we’re positive, we play forward, we’re looking for forward passes, forward runs, everybody comes alive and everybody expects the ball.”

Just like the weekend, however, Cliftonville were unable to add to their tally after the break, with Magilton taking encouragement from the fact his players are just as determined as he is to step things up.

“If I’m full of praise for the first-half, then I’m a little bit negative about the second-half simply because I know the quality in our dressing room,” he added.

“A little bit more clinical in front of goal, a little bit more clinical in our passing and we might score more goals. It was the same on Saturday, so we’ve got building blocks. It’s not all rosy but certainly I demand more and, more importantly, the dressing room demands more of themselves.”