Baxter hails returning Chris Morrow after master class against Ballymena United

Chris Morrow in action with Ballymena's Chris Rodgers
Chris Morrow in action with Ballymena's Chris Rodgers

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter hailed the performance of midfielder Chris Morrow following this demolition job on Ballymena United at Seaview.

The Crues were simply a class apart, with Morrow, who has recently returned following a serious knee injury, the star performer in midfield.

He grabbed a goal of the season contender in the first half, sandwiched between a brace from striker Gary McCutcheon and strikes from Paul Heatley and skipper Colin Coates.

Alan Teggart smuggled a late goal for United, but it was of no consolation whatsoever following a woeful display.

“The fans were well entertained,” beamed Baxter. “It was a wonderful display of passing football. Our game plan was to work the ball quickly. The little three goal burst before the interval killed it off – it was done and dusted.

“We had some class acts out there – young Heatley, Josh Robinson, McCutcheon and Morrow – they were fabulous.

“Chris has had three or four games since his return from injury – and I felt this was the day for him. He is still not match fit, but I thought he was excellent for the hour or so what he played.”

Baxter moved quickly to bring in goalkeeper Yohan Locrioix, formerly with Auxerre and Lille, who was snapped up from Tampines Rovers in Singapore. Ex-Longford Town shot stopper Craig Hyland also joined the Shore Road club.

Baxter admits he now faces a selection dilemma for Tuesday night’s Irish Cup replay against Linfield at Seaview.

“We had four big players missing, so we are able to put on a few lads who have been on the bench in recent games – and they were absolutely stunning,” he added. “That gives me a lot to think about in the lead up to the cup game with Linfield.

“I’m hoping both goalkeepers will be available for the Linfield game – their registration will be through on Monday. We have some huge games coming up over the next few months, so I was very pleased we were able to get those lads in as quickly as we did.

“We were tipped off through an agent regarding Yohan, we then did our own ground work on him. We were chasing a dozen goalkeepers at one time – my phone bill will be through the roof. But we struck gold because I’ve spoken to quite a few people who recommended him highly.”

United boss Glenn Ferguson pulled no punches after another inept performance by the Sky Blues.

“If I don’t get consistency from this team, I’ll have to make changes,” he said. “We blow hot and cold and I simply can’t allow that to happen.

“It’s my responsibility to bring in players who play for the shirt. It’s no secret we are on the look out for fresh faces.”