Tommy Breslin hopes his first Manager of the Month award of the season is a sign of things to come for Cliftonville.
The Reds boss lifted the BT Sport prize for February following an impressive few weeks for the Solitude outfit.
Last month Cliftonville enjoyed a 100 per cent winning record in their defence of the Premiership title, including victories over chief rivals Linfield and Crusaders.
Breslin insists the award is a reflection of the team effort currently galvanising the Reds.
And he hopes the club’s momentum continues to gather pace as they reach the business end of the season.
“I am obviously delighted, but these awards only come around because of a team effort. So this is for all the players, backroom staff, medical team, board members and everyone else,” Breslin said.
“It is good picking up awards any stage of the season, but to get one now is hopefully a positive sign ahead of the run-in.
“We had a very tough month during February and we picked up some big wins. We have managed to claw our way back into the title race, and that’s all you can ask for.
“We are now playing catch-up with Linfield, and we really can’t afford any more slip-ups.
“We are two points behind, so if we lose and Linfield win then that gap becomes five and it is a long way back from there.
“But if we win and Linfield lose, then suddenly we will be top again. So it is swings and roundabouts and I would expect more of the same between now and the end of the season.
“We have eight games left and they will all be cup finals – starting with Ballinamallard on Saturday.”
Cliftonville proved their title mettle with a 2-1 victory at Dungannon Swifts on February 22.
Stephen Garrett’s late goal completed a spirited win for the Reds at Stangmore Park.
“It showed the hunger and desire of the players, and their character shone through,” Breslin added.
“We were missing the likes of Liam Boyce, Joe Gormley and Marc Smyth that day – three big players for us.
“So to come away with the win, especially after being a goal down, was a big result for us.
“In my opinion, I believe we deserved to win the game, but we had to tough it out and it was a big hurdle cleared for the boys.”
Breslin accepts title rivals Linfield will be buoyed by their midweek County Antrim Shield success.
David Jeffrey’s side defeated Crusaders on penalties to lift their first trophy in 22 months.
“Winning any trophy gives you a lift, so I am sure Linfield will be boosted by that win,” Breslin added.
“They will be determined to finish their season on a high, just like us.
“That’s what makes for such an exciting climax in the Premiership this season. It is going to be a big finish.”