PREMIERSHIP: Club progress over personal pride for both Gray and Tipton

Cliftonville manager Barry Gray.
Cliftonville manager Barry Gray.

Club concerns over personal pride will prove the priority for managers Barry Gray and Matthew Tipton at Solitude on Saturday.

Barry Gray spent over a decade as the mastermind behind Warrenpoint Town’s rise from the ranks of Mid-Ulster football to the Irish League senior stage, with an appointment of Matthew Tipton as coach and eventual successor in his final season.

Warrenpoint Town manager Matthew Tipton. Pic by INPHO/PressEye Ltd.

Warrenpoint Town manager Matthew Tipton. Pic by INPHO/PressEye Ltd.

However, the former club colleagues turned Danske Bank Premiership rivals have in-house issues as the main focus.

Cliftonville welcome last season’s Championship title winners one week on from a dramatic last-gasp victory over defending top-flight champions Linfield.

Warrenpoint picked up a point from the battle with Carrick Rangers that signalled the end of a five-game losing league sequence but left Tipton frustrated at a missed opportunity to gain ground over a side considered a rival in the fight against relegation.

“It’s about the club not any one person and Warrenpoint provide a dangerous opponent as they’ve players capable of hurting any team,” said Gray. “There is no point in us beating Linfield then, whoever the next side we face, throwing away that good work.

“We have got to be careful as Warrenpoint arrive in a similar position to us before the Linfield match, as a team few felt could get a result and with nothing to lose but in search of a result to ignite the season.

“The Linfield result is in the past now and just one match so we should not focus too much on that only to use it as a way to progress.

“What the Linfield game did show is that, when the gameplan reflects what we have asked of the players we look so much stronger.”

Gray’s view is that the Warrenpoint results return may not match periods of positive performance.

“We have to get it right internally irrespective of who we play,” said Tipton. “You get to 100 per cent by having the players understand 75 per cent then it is my job and that of the coaching team to add in the final 25 per cent.

“Once you know your individual job and that of your team-mates it hands a solid foundation to build on, with the tactical work going on top of that platform.

“We would have been expecting to be on down the line after three months or so together but it is a changed squad for this campaign.

“We had a team meeting recently and the players still here from last season’s Championship-winning group felt it took around the same timeframe to get to grips with what we wanted then show it in games.

“It is about getting both the shape and energy in place together.”