Barry Johnston believes nerves won’t be a problem for Cliftonville this season – because some of his younger teammates find it hard to comprehend the concept of pressure.
The Reds eased nine points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership on Tuesday night with a 1-0 win over Donegal Celtic.
It was another tough hurdle scaled by Tommy Breslin’s men who remain on course for a first league championship in 15 years.
Johnston admits it is Cliftonville’s elder statesmen who can appreciate the seismic task facing the Solitude men this season, while the younger starlets appear immune to the pressure.
“I think some of them are too stupid to understand pressure – they just take everything in their stride,” the 31-year-old midfielder joked.
“We are just playing our football and seeing where it takes us. Nobody expected us to be nine points clear in the middle of January, so we are just getting on with it.
“There are a few of us, like Geordie (McMullan), Ronan (Scannell) and myself who know what it is like to throw away a lead at the top.
“We did it a few years ago, so that’s something we don’t want to repeat this season.
“But for the younger lads they are playing their football with a swagger and a smile and enjoying it, which is the right way to do it.”
Reflecting on Tuesday’s win over DC, Johnston added: “It was a tough win for us, but you need to grind it out at times and we showed great character to get the three points.”