Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson revealed a little known stat in the euphoria that followed his side’s dramatic, late win over Cliftonville.
Danny McKee’s injury time goal sealed a 2-1 victory over the champions in east Belfast.
McKee – only introduced as a substitute four minutes previous – capitalised on a Tomas Cosgrove error before coolly lobbing the advancing Conor Devlin.
It was the Glens’ third league win on the bounce, the first time they have managed the feat since Patterson arrived at the club in February 2012.
“ This is our third win in a row in the league which is the first time this has happened since I came here,” he said.
“That is a boost for all the boys and we hope to make it four against our biggest rivals Linfield on Boxing Day.”
Patterson also put his side’s 2-1 win over Cliftonville to perspiration as well as the inspiration of sub McKee’s late winner.
Davy McDaid had given the Reds an 11th-minute lead, but that was cancelled out by David Scullion before the break.
“All the hard work the coaching staff did this week paid off and the bond between them and the players was clear for all to see at the end” enthused Patterson.
“The crowd responded with great enthusiasm and it keeps the momentum going and puts everybody in a good place and gives us confidence and belief going into the Boxing Day game with Linfield.”
While Christmas spirit abounded in the jubilant home dressing room, Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin’s disappointment was as plain to see as the Christmas tree at Belfast’s City Hall is from Donegal Place.
But as ever he was honest in his assessment of the game and wanted to take nothing away from Glentoran.
“For the winning goal Tomas (Cosgrave) is very disappointed but the ball bounced over him and these things happen and he has played consistently well for us this season,” admitted Tommy.
“To be fair, full credit must be given to the young lad (Danny) McKee because he went after the clearance, got the ball and finished well.
“There is never a good way to lose but to be hit with a sucker punch is particularly hard to take.
“What is disappointing is that we scored and we didn’t move on from there when we were moving well so that makes it doubly disappointing.
“After we went 1-0 up we stopped and sloppiness came into our play and we slowed our game down and lost our rhythm.
“We just weren’t good enough today. The pizzazz and the movement was not there and it’s disappointing not to finish what had been a good week on a high.”
Boxing Day derbies are now at the forefront of both clubs’ thinking.
“Boxing Day is Boxing Day,” said Patterson with a wry smile, and the look of a man who knows anything can happen in a ‘Big Two’ game.
“It’s a derby game and it will as always be about who turns up, who doesn’t suffer nerves and at this stage in our development and given the age profile of our squad we don’t know how they will be affected.
“The last time we put up a very good second half performance and certainly merited the goal we got but no two derby games are the same and it is all about who turns up on the day.”
Breslin’s take on the Crusaders game was succinct and to the point.
“We need to get our game together for Crusaders on Boxing Day and pick our performances up because things can change very quickly in this game.
“The bottom line is a couple of weeks ago we were top of the league and now we are not. That needs to be addressed.”