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Crusaders more than just cup specialists insists Baxter

Linfield and Crusaders players braving the cold  during Tuesday night's IRN BRU League Cup semi final at Windsor Park.

Linfield and Crusaders players braving the cold during Tuesday night's IRN BRU League Cup semi final at Windsor Park.

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter has shrugged off suggestions that his team and Cliftonville are about to take over the mantra of Belfast’s ‘big two’.

Both teams are roaring away from the rest at the top of the Premier League table – and they are scheduled to meet in the IRN-BRU League Cup final on January 26.

A spectacular Jordan Owens goal earned cup holders Crusaders a hard fought win over Linfield at a frosty Windsor Park on Tuesday night.

But Baxter quickly scorned any thoughts of a North Belfast take over as a big two force.

“We don’t have the numbers like Linfield and Glentoran in terms of fan base – or the resources, but we’ve got big hearts,” said Baxter.

“Both teams (Crues and Reds) are playing very well – the quality of football is certainly good. But Linfield and Glentoran are the ‘big two’ in this country and always will be.

“I’m sure Tommy Breslin would say the same. The two teams (Crues and Reds) have worked really hard to establish their respective grounds and fan base. We try to play a good brand of football and keep the budget right.

“It’s been a really good three or four year period for both clubs – we are now reaping the rewards of each club having a good panel of players. We must now look to try and keep that going. But we’ll not be classing ourselves as a ‘big two’. Perhaps we’re Belfast’s ‘wee two’.

“For me, Cliftonville are currently the top team in the country – they are winning well and scoring a lot of goals. They are a class outfit.

“We will look forward to the Boxing Day fixture with them and then the League Cup final. It should be a great occasion, a big crowd and great atmosphere live on Sky television.”

 

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