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Knockout occasion

Jim Magilton says Portadown’s giantkillers are to be respected ahead of this evening’s Clearer Water Irish Cup quarter-final showdown.

Though the Shamrock Park outfit are currently embroiled in a tasty tussle for promotion from the Playr-Fit Championship, they have not taken their eye off the ball in knockout competitions and, in addition to lifting the Mid Ulster Cup earlier this year, have a BetMcLean Cup Final clash with Linfield to look forward to next weekend.

Both competitions saw the Ports overcome Premiership opposition and, having got the better of Crusaders, Loughgall (twice), Carrick Rangers, Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts already this season, they are not a team that the Cliftonville boss is daring to take lightly as his charges seek a third semi-final slot in six years.

“Portadown don’t lose Cup matches,” says Magilton, whose first game in charge of the Reds was a defeat to Niall Currie’s side back in July.

“They’ve had some great results against top teams this season and not only does that show what kind of quality they have and the threat that they’ll present, it will also give them confidence going into this game.

“For our part, we need to get back on track after two defeats.

“After losing to Linfield, our reaction against Dungannon wasn’t what I expected it to be. We showed a lack of conviction last weekend, which is amazing considering what this group of players has done throughout the season so far.

“We were off it and it was a hugely disappointing afternoon. Obviously we want a reaction to that and it’s at times like these, when things have been difficult, that you find out who your big characters are, who’s going to step up and show the resilience that you need to get you through it.

“The amount of Premiership teams that Portadown have beaten this season says everything about the challenge we’re going to face and we have to be prepared to stand up to that but also go and play our game to the levels we know we can.”

Portadown v Cliftonville
Ticket only
Live on BBC Sport NI and iPlayer