Staphen Baxter hails Crusaders quality after Dungannon victory

Crusaders' Paul Heatley scores against Dungannon
Crusaders' Paul Heatley scores against Dungannon

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter praised the quality of his players as they put on a five-star show in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday night.

Goals from Jordan Owens (2), Paul Heatley, Gary McCutcheon and an Adam McMinn own goal saw the Crues cruise to a 5-1 victory over Dungannon Swifts at Seaview.

It was the Shore Road club’s first win since December 7, and saw them close the gap on Premiership leaders Linfield to six points - who they meet next week at Windsor Park.

“I was pleased with our tempo in the game, and we got the two quick goals and then a third, and I thought in the second half we were superb,” Baxter said.

“It was important to win tonight. We only picked up three points out of 12 from our last four games, but we had been playing well.

“So tonight we managed to convert the performance into a win and three points, and it is another game chalked off.”

Crusaders have an Irish Cup fifth round tie with Crumlin Star this Saturday, followed by that titanic Premiership showdown with Linfield.

“That will be another massive test. We are still six points behind Linfield, and they have a game in hand,” Baxter added.

“We know we have to go there and get a positive result. If we lose next week then it will be very difficult to catch Linfield.

“But we have Crumlin Star in the Irish Cup on Saturday, so we are not even considering next Tuesday’s league game until the cup is out of the way.”