Jim Magilton felt Cliftonville deserved more than they got from yesterday’s encounter with Glentoran and says that belief in their ability to take on the Sports Direct Premiership’s top sides is key to his squad’s prospects as the season unfolds.
The 1-0 reverse at the Oval, which came courtesy of a second-half strike from Niall McGinn, arrived on the back of a home draw with Larne and narrow loss away to Linfield, leaving the Manager to reflect on the fine margins that could have seen the Reds pocket more than just a point from those battles.
“The bottom line is if you want to be successful – and we do – and you want to play against the big boys, you have to be competitive for every minute of every game,” he said.
“If you switch off, you get punished. Against the three teams that finished above us last season, we’ve taken a point and that’s not acceptable; that’s not good enough for me or the players, most importantly.
“They’ve done well in large parts of those games and maybe feel hard done by but it’s gone now and we’ve got to lick our wounds.
“At the end of the day, we created enough opportunities to win the game and yes, of course, Niall McGinn’s got fantastic quality. I haven’t seen the goal back yet but I’m sure I’ll pick the bones out of it and a few hard-edged questions will be asked on Monday night.
“We’ve had enough chances and, in tight games like this, you have to take them. For me, we’re better than that and I don’t want any fear creeping into the players about what they can do.”
Despite his frustration, Magilton repeated his faith in his players and in the tactical principles they have adopted.
“As a Manager, I want more and I’m putting those demands on the player,” he added. ” You have to have a ruthless streak in these games because it gives you a security blanket of then being able to go out and play, and the opposition have to open up etcetera, etcetera and we have to be able to pick them off.
“I just think at times, we lack a bit of belief – which is hard to believe. At times, we controlled the game and managed to create chances but we just didn’t take them.
“I’m sitting here really disappointed because I think we deserved something from the game. I just think we’re better than that and we have to be more ruthless than that if we’re going to be competitive.”