Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor hails influence of ultra-cool Tommy Breslin

Reds chief Tommy Breslin
Reds chief Tommy Breslin

Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor has hailed the calming influence of manager Tommy Breslin.

Lawlor admitted he felt “physically sick” prior to Tuesday’s defining victory over Portadown.

The Reds chief also admitted to having doubts earlier in the season over the club’s title mettle following their slow start to the campaign – but one man eased the nerves.

“When we won the title last year it was emotional, and I remember feeling drained at the end of it all.

“This time I felt physically sick in the boardroom before today’s game. I didn’t even eat a sausage roll, which is unlike me,” Lawlor joked.

“The boys were fantastic in the second half, and I can’t praise Tommy Breslin enough.

“He frustrates the life out of me, but we are so different. He has that special character and touch about him, he is a marvellous man.

“Tommy has been calming me down, and everyone else in the dressing room. He is drinking tea while I am freaking out.

“We had a slow start this season and I started wondering where it had all gone wrong. I started thinking did we need a root and branch review of things. I was panicking, and I had doubts.

“You start questioning ‘is there hunger and desire in the players?’, and ‘was last season a fluke?’. I thought it could have been 1998 all over again.

“But the whole time Tommy just kept saying ‘relax, relax, relax’. And he promised me in early January that if we got to the top of the table, we would not be caught. And he was right.”