If Coleraine can replicate the effort and commitment they invested in Saturday’s showdown with Linfield, then manager Oran Kearney shouldn’t have too much to fear.
True, it was another defeat for the Bannsiders – one that keeps them wedged in 1oth spot in the table – but there was some honour to glean from the 3-2 reverse.
Kearney has been thrust under an unforgiving spotlight in recent weeks following the club’s poor start to the season.
Coleraine looked to be a club on the rise, one capable of breaking up the Belfast monopoly of the top places in the Danske Bank Premiership.
Instead, their season has swerved into the mire as they continue to struggle to find form.
But in the face of adversity, Kearney has found a welcome ally in chairman Colin McKendry.
McKendry went public last week to give his “110 per cent” backing to the club’s embattled manager.
It was a positive move that helped calm the swell of speculation questioning Kearney’s future at the Showgrounds.
Kearney will be three years in charge of Coleraine next February.
At the end of his first season the club finished seventh.
In his first full campaign he guided the Bannsiders to fourth spot, while last term they also secured a top six finish.
He can reflect on his Showgrounds tenure with plenty of satisfaction and pride.
But football doesn’t stand still for anyone. You are only as good as your last game, as they say.
Kearney is facing up to his first crisis, his first major hurdle.
He is under no illusions, and would readily concede the club have under-performed this season. But Kearney is not one for throwing in the towel.
The former midfielder has invested too much time and energy into Coleraine, and he is determined to transform their fortunes in the weeks ahead.
Saturday’s performance hinted at a potential return to form, but Kearney will demand results to back up the displays.
Of course, Kearney is not immune to the dreaded hook being administered if results continue to slide.
But with the club’s hierarchy backing him, he may be offered time to turn things around.