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Jim’s teaming with praise

Jim Magilton saluted Cliftonville’s application and quality right across the pitch against Crusaders last night – and also had words of praise for his right-hand man in the dugout.

The Reds produced a storming North Belfast Derby display to put three unanswered goals past their hosts, with Chris Gallagher lashing in the opener from a well-worked corner routine before Rory Hale’s cool finish doubled the advantage.

Ben Wilson pounced to make it 3-0 early in the second-half and, as well as toasting his players’ attacking prowess, Magilton also acknowledged the dedicated defensive effort his men served up.

“When you come here, you have to be prepared for a really tough game and they never, ever disappoint,” he said.

“We showed courage and bravery with the ball at times, as well as the real quality we have.

“We also defended for our lives – and you have to do that, you have to be prepared to throw your bodies on the line and be courageous and I think we did that.

“You have to enjoy nights like this. We’ve been on a mini run of not getting results, so hopefully this is a fillip for more to come.”

Having threatened from a couple of early corners, the breakthrough finally came when Gallagher thundered in an 18th minute strike from Ronan Doherty’s delivery – but the Manager was quick to eschew any personal compliments for the routine.

“Gerard Lyttle has to take all the credit for the set pieces!,” he beamed.

“I don’t do set pieces, Gerard does all the set pieces and, again, the lads have applied themselves throughout the season and Gerard has reinforced that on a daily basis.”

Summer recruit Wilson maintained his fine start to life with the Club by putting the seal on the Derby success but, even outside of his goal, the former Brighton man’s overall performance also won the Manager’s praise.

“Ben’s goal hungry but, for the other side of their game, he and Sam Ashford worked so hard, they were a real threat,” he added.

“Their work ethic gave us a real platform to play and with Rory in there as well, it gave us an opportunity to really play on the counter and we scored good goals.”