If Tommy Breslin’s growing confidence is anything to go by, Cliftonville’s rivals could be in for another long, arduous season.
The Reds have struggled to find top gear during the opening weeks of the new Danske Bank Premiership campaign.
The defending champions have already lost twice – against Portadown and Coleraine respectively – but find themselves in the familiar position of topping the table.
Cliftonville’s most recent outing was last week’s impressive 4-1 victory against Glentoran.
It was a performance that earned the praise of boss Breslin, who hinted that the Reds were starting to show the form that saw them romp to the title last season.
If his confidence is realised in the weeks ahead, it could be an ominous sign from last year’s standout side.
“I suppose we can’t complain too much. We are top after seven games and that is a good position to be in,” he said,
“As much as we would like it, we can’t demand perfection from the players – that can never happen.
“Last season we struggled during the opening six or seven games. We drew a few and took time to get going.
“It has been the same this season, but I think it will take another four or five games before the league table settles down.
“We haven’t been firing on all cylinders, but last Saturday’s performance against Glentoran was encouraging. So hopefully we are maybe clicking into gear.”