Crues manager Stephen Baxter ready to ‘move on’ after defeat

DERBY DESPAIR: Crusaders lost to Cliftonville on Boxing Day
DERBY DESPAIR: Crusaders lost to Cliftonville on Boxing Day

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter insists his players are ready to bounce back in the Danske Bank Premiership.

The Crues sustained a major dent in their title aspirations with a Boxing Day defeat to Cliftonville.

A 1-0 win for the Reds saw the league leaders’ advantage at the top of the table extended to nine points.

Tommy Breslin’s men also boast a game in hand as they set their sights on a first league championship since 1998.

Crusaders manager Baxter says his players have licked their wounds following the derby defeat and are ready to get back to winning ways against Ballinamallard United on Saturday afternoon.

“Boxing Day was just three points. It was a north Belfast derby but it was just another league game,” he said.

“The players will be hurting because they are professional. They know they could have won that game but we move on.

“Sometimes you need a little lady luck to win leagues. I won titles with Crusaders and you need the rub of the green sometimes. I think Cliftonville got a little luck on Wednesday.”

Baxter admits Cliftonville remain in a “very strong” position following their latest win.

He also believes the Solitude Reds – who entertain Dungannon Swifts this afternoon – have all the necessary tools to lift the title.

“It is a nine-point difference and Cliftonville have a game in hand. They will be buoyed by that,” he added.

“They are a strong side and work hard for each other. They also have goals in them, and when you have all that then you can win leagues.”