IRISH LEAGUE: North Belfast derby is ‘biggest’ Boxing Day game says McDaid

Cliftonville's David McDaid.  Photographer - Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Cliftonville's David McDaid. Photographer - Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Striker Davy McDaid insists his team have a ‘massive incentive’ when they face Danske Premiership champions Crusaders on a Festive cracker at Solitude.

The Reds approach the game in the best possible shape, having suffered only one defeat in their last 12 outings, but victory would earn Gerard Lyttle’s boys a belated Christmas present in the form of cutting the gap to only three points at the top of the table.

“Cliftonville against Crusaders on Boxing Day – these are the games you want to play in,” beamed McDaid. “We’ve had a good run of form and Crusaders are top of the table, so it really tees it up. This year, they’ve been grinding out a lot of results and it’s going to be some match.

“Let’s face it,Crusaders over the past two seasons have been the best side and won the title. Linfield against Glentoran is always a massive game given the history of that fixture, but in recent years, Cliftonville against Crusaders is now the biggest game.”

McDaid stresses it will not be a title decider, but it could well be a defining game. He added: “It’s a massive incentive for us to win and put pressure on Crusaders and Linfield just above us,” declared McDaid.

“Psychologically we don’t want the gap to increase to nine points, because the way Crusaders are playing, even when they’re under performing, they’re getting late winners.

“It would be a big ask for them to drop nine points. At the same time, football is a funny game and if you drop a couple of points, things can change quickly."