Chris Curran spent 90-plus minutes passing the ball to his team-mates as the driving force in Cliftonville’s midfield engine-room before using his post-match interview to pass the praise on to those same players.
The 28-year-old Reds skipper proved an exercise in efficiency during victory over Glenavon, setting the standard with the captain’s armband as well as setting the tempo.
“I’m getting older now but it’s actually getting easier because of the options around me on the pitch,” said Curran. “I’ve always said the easiest thing to do is to get the ball and give it to players around you with quality.
“I look around and am blessed - it seems like the easiest job in the world as my team-mates are so good at making space.
“They are making me look good.
“I cannot speak highly enough of someone like Ronan Doherty. he’s a really special player and you could see today his quality so I’m excited to see his development. “Then Liam Bagnall has been missing at times this season so I’ve been a bit more defensive - but when he comes in that gives me that little bit more freedom to go forward.
“It’s such a bright young squad and it’s simple when you look around at the quality that if someone is not producing then you will not stay in the side for very long, so that’s another incentive to keep working.
“It’s still early in the season, with the team building and developing, so we are in a good place.
“At a very basic level, there’s more contact time and for a long period we’ve been in for three nights week.
“We started early due to the European campaign too, so that’s more time to listen to Paddy McLaughlin and for him to get his ideas across.”
Cliftonville’s rise to second in the Danske Bank Premiership rankings has also been an exercise in efficiency - with McLaughlin’s men clocking up the points without the same widespread public plaudits bestowed on rival sides.
“We’ve been growing in confidence with every game and this was a fixture that last season would have found really difficult,” said Curran. “So, to come here and win is no small matter.
“I thought we made hard work of it in the first half, we were a bit lethargic but the right things were said at half-time.
“We were sloppy and careless, running with the ball when usually we would move it quicker.
“We’ve been moving the ball well so want to keep driving that and we were not really happy with ourselves in the first half.
“We came out better in the second and played the football people know we can play.
“We were better all over the park and maybe could have edged it by a goal or two more.
“We can work on the finishing - it’s a lot more difficult to work on creating those chances, we were really good up until that last finish or final ball.
“Rory’s goal was a touch of class so it was probably fitting that a goal like that settled things in the end.”
GLENAVON: Taylor, Larmour, Burns, Marshall, Hall, Harmon, Beggs, Singleton, Garrett, Jenkins, Hamilton.
Subs: Marron, Doyle, Mitchell, McCloskey, Murray, Hunter, Wearen
CLIFTONVILLE: Brush, Breen, Harney, C.Curran, R.Curran, R.Donnelly, Foster, Bagnall, Doherty, Gormley, A.Donnelly.
Subs: Dunne, McDermott, McKee, Wilson, Maguire, Casey, Gorman.
Referee: Keith Kennedy