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Improving ground

Jim Magilton believes Cliftonville’s performances have improved in every match so far this season.

After maintaining their perfect start with a 4-0 victory over Carrick Rangers yesterday, the boss outlined his delight with a display that delivered a third consecutive clean sheet in the Sports Direct Premiership and also yielded the Reds’ first second-half strike of the campaign.

“I can’t praise the players enough, not just for this game but for everything they’ve done from the minute I came in,” said Magilton after Ben Wilson’s double, a Ronan Doherty penalty and audacious attempt from Rory Hale accounted for the Gers.

“We obviously had a good win against Glenavon last week but there were parts of the game we all felt we could improve on, which we did when we went to Newry on Tuesday night. I then felt we got better again against Carrick and that’s what we want to do – build from game to game.

“We’re under no illusions. We’ve only played three matches and nobody’s getting carried away with anything because there’s nothing to get carried away about, but there have been a lot of positives that have set us up for the really big tests we’re going to face.

“We knew Carrick would carry huge threats and we had to do our best to extinguish them and then come out with the strengths that we have, so I’m delighted with the performance.

“Our game management was very, very good – and we even got ourselves a goal in the second-half for a change.

“In terms of the style of play and the intensity we want to bring to a game, it’s very difficult sometimes for a Manager and a coaching staff to talk about this but, at the end of the day, the people that implement that are the players – and they deserve huge credit for what they’ve done and what they continue to do.”