‘Cage’ did not hinder us says Crusaders Colin Coates

Crusaders Colin Coates about to miss his penalty at Solitude
Crusaders Colin Coates about to miss his penalty at Solitude

Colin Coates does not believe the fact Saturday’s dramatic Wasp Solutions League Cup final penalty shoot-out was contested in front of Solitude’s famous Cage Stand contributed to the outcome.

Coates, Jordan Owens and Craig McClean all failed to hit the back for the mark from 12 yards, as Cliftonville won the shoot-out in front of their own fans.

Coates said: “It was at their end for security reasons I think, it had nothing to do with the toss of the coin.

“To be honest, I think it’s irrelevant anyway.

“I can’t speak for anyone else, but it doesn’t make a difference to me.

“When I’m hitting a penalty I tend to block everything out. Maybe it helped them, but it didn’t hinder us.

“You’re just striking a ball, it doesn’t matter if there is 50 there, or 50,000 there.”

Coates missed the first penalty of the shoot-out, with Reds’ keeper Conor Devlin pushed his weak spot kick away.

Coates made no excuse for his miss: “I wanted to hit a penalty, I put my hand up for it.

“There was a wee bit of doubt in my mind because I missed on Boxing Day, maybe it’s something I need to work on. It was a poor penalty.

“I won the toss and elected to go first, because they always say it’s better to go first. Maybe we should have went second because we went second against Linfield, earlier in the competition, and won. It’s all psychological, I don’t really know if it matters.”

Coates hopes that Saturday’s disappointment inspires them to collect another piece of silverware before the season is out.

“It’s a blow now, but who knows it might help us push on in the league and make us more determined.

“If you look at our performances over the last six weeks we haven’t been playing particularly well, - we’ve been defending well, but we look a bit toothless in attack - which is strange, because we’ve so many good attacking players.

“We haven’t been great since the day we hit the top of the league, if we’re being honest.

“But we’ve still got the Shield final, the Setanta Cup, the Irish Cup and an outside chance in the league, so we’ve plenty to play for.

“We will keep working hard and we will keep going,” he added.