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Score points

Jim Magilton says yesterday’s Sports Direct Premiership classic with Glenavon was simply a case of Cliftonville trying to outscore their opponents by any means.

Though the Reds boss made a string of tactical and personnel tweaks over the course of 90 pulsating minutes, he insists the occasion simply boiled down to his players finding a way to eventually see off the impressive visitors, who had deservedly led at half-time courtesy of James Doona’s strike.

Quickfire finishes from Rory Hale and Sam Ashford turned the tie on its head in the opening stages of the second-half only for the Lurgan Blues to hit back courtesy of Matthew Snoddy ahead of two Joe Gormley efforts – the first of which came from the penalty spot – to settle the issue once and for all.

“For whatever reason, it just felt like a day where we were going to have to outscore them,” said Magilton afterwards.

“We had a back five that hadn’t played together and that’s a very difficult situation. We felt we had to make a change and the changes helped us in the second-half.

“You have to think on your feet and if you panic, you’re beat. It was really important that we had a measured conversation. We needed a rollicking, there’s no question about that. We were very lethargic, we stood off – especially in midfield, where we weren’t quite firing on all cylinders. Credit the opposition for that. They played very measured, very controlled football. I thought they were excellent and, at times, we found it very difficult.

“Half-time comes and it’s a case of having an honest conversation with the players – honest and forthright in terms of we need to do better, this is not how we want to play, this is not how we play, this is totally uncharacteristic and it’s important we get back to what we do.

“Sometimes you have to applaud the opposition and they were fantastic. They didn’t give us a breath. We were so off it but they played really well.

“We rejigged things, we changed the shape of the team which gave us more of a foothold. Rory Hale scores a great goal after great work from Sam and that gives us the confidence to go on, then Sam scores a great goal of his own after great work from Ronan Hale.

“Glenavon come back into it but the players found it from within themselves to go again. They showed their character and resilience.

“We’ve brought Joe Gormley on and he’s listened. We’ve told him exactly what we want from him in terms of how we were going to try and play the game, and he has understood the message. There’s nothing I can tell Joe Gormley about scoring goals and they were two really cool, calm finishes to help us get a massive three points.”