Jim Magilton says it’s vital that Cliftonville don’t take their foot off the pedal when they take on Ballymena United tomorrow.
In the wake of a pulsating North Belfast Derby victory over Crusaders on Monday night, the Reds report to The Showgrounds for their fifth consecutive away match and, though the Sky Blues are rooted to the bottom of the Sports Direct Premiership without a home point on the board this season, the boss is wary of how easily complacency can be punished in the Irish League.
“One thing that stands out from my limited time here is that if you’re not ready and not prepared, you make things really tough for yourself,” says Magilton.
“There’s a hunger and a desire in the group and I can’t praise them enough – and that’s from day one. I’ve got great staff and that helps because, as a Manager, you want to deal on a more personal level with players and the lads deal with the group.
“The players have been great and all praise goes to them. No matter what we say to them, once you cross the white line, you have to show courage. The game’s a teacher to us all and Monday night was a great night for us, we accept that, but we had to quickly get ready for Ballymena – end of story.
“I was at Ballymena’s game last Saturday and if we’re not ready for it, then we’ll be on the receiving end of a bad result.”
Monday night’s victory at Seaview saw Cliftonville return to winning ways after a few weeks of near misses and, in saluting his side’s performances, Magilton is looking forward to returning to Solitude following this weekend’s engagement on Warden Street.
“I think we’ve been competitive in every League game,” he adds.
“Take aside the County Antrim Shield and Scottish Challenge Cup game, where I thought we just left a little bit out there, I think we’ve been competitive in all our League games, which is really important because we’ve had a tough run. We’ve played Linfield, Glentoran, Larne and Crusaders and they’re all tough – it would be nice to play a home game at some point, to be honest!
“You have to applaud the fans too, they were magnificent on Monday. I know it was a derby and they’d obviously be up for that, but their passion and desire for this Football Club is amazing.”
Ballymena United v Cliftonville
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