Many described it as a potential banana skin for Cliftonville.
Others claimed the Reds would come unstuck at Shamrock Park.
Well, try telling that to Tommy Breslin’s side.
Saturday’s perceived ‘acid test’ against Portadown turned into a leisurely stroll for the league leaders.
A 3-1 victory could so easily have been five or 6-1 after another commanding display from the Solitude men.
Diarmuid O’Carroll got the ball rolling with a clinical finish in the eighth minute, with Joe Gormley doubling the advantage in the 63rd minute.
Sean Mackle threatened a revival for the Ports when he made it 2-1 with a neat finish 15 minutes from time, but Reds talisman Liam Boyce ended the game as a contest with a cool finish in the 81st minute.
It was another hurdle scaled by Cliftonville as they set their sights on a first title in 15 years.
It keeps them nine points clear of nearest rivals Crusaders at the summit.
And for striker Boyce – who claimed his 25th goal of the season on Saturday – it was another statement of intent from the north Belfast club.
“Every other team would have been looking at this game. They would have seen it as a potential banana skin for us,” Boyce said.
“Maybe they thought we would drop a few points and they could close in on us at the top.
“But to be fair I thought the lads did really well today, and we should have won by a few more than we did. We had plenty of chances, but thankfully Joe and me got one each and we held out.
“Crusaders also won today. They might have expected to close the gap on us, so it is good that we sent another message out.
“Tommy has been saying to us to keep raising our game and silence any doubters out there. He wanted us to get the three points and we did that. Now we move on.”
Boyce admits Cliftonville’s younger squad members are “too dumb” to understand the pressure associated with a tense title race.
“A lot of the lads are still young and never been involved in anything like this before. We don’t seem to be fazed by it – maybe we are too dumb to appreciate it,” he added.
“We are enjoying playing football and we are too young to understand pressure. We will leave that to some of the other older lads.”