Barry Gray accepts building Cliftonville back into a team consistently competing for the top silverware may have to arrive one gruelling step at a time.
External assumptions over a continued lack of consistency from the talented Belfast camp stand in contrast to Gray’s experience of internal harmony and hard work towards a common goal.
Cliftonville travel to Warrenpoint Town this weekend aiming to improve on a return of eight points from six games fresh from the double boost of a first home victory and welcome clean sheet thanks to a 3-0 success over Institute.
“Inside the squad we know what we are working towards and how that progress is going,” said Gray. “The players know what is requested and required and it all comes from getting the heads down and working together off that trust.
“The baseline in this league for any success or progress comes off work-rate first and foremost, then using that starting point to show your ability.
“We stand basically out of the first month of the season and the table will judge the success of our work down the line, not now.
“People can have opinions good or bad but outside views should never impact on our focus and our response is always the same win, lose or draw.”
Football’s ability to deliver harsh lessons has hit home at Gray’s former club more than most as Warrenpoint remain bottom off six successive defeats including back-to-back five-goal deficits.
“The problem for us is trying to put it all together,” said Town boss Stephen McDonnell. “We’ve not been in a position to get our best 11 out on the pitch at once, although I understand that does not always happen and it’s about a squad.
“But I’m just looking forward to some sort of inspiration from that one result.
“We’ve had a good conversation with the group but it is something we need to do together.
“Every roll of the dice seems to be going against us at the moment but I’m still upbeat and know we’ve quality to be in a better position.”