IRISH LEAGUE: Gerard Lyttle issues warning to misfiring Cliftonville following Coleraine defeat

Brad Lyons rounds goalkeeper Conor Devlin before scoring
Brad Lyons rounds goalkeeper Conor Devlin before scoring

Cliftonville boss Gerard Lyttle warned his players that they need to buck their ideas up after Coleraine swatted them aside at Solitude.

The Bannsiders were full value for their 3-1 win against a Reds side that delivered an error-strewn display riddled with poor decision-making and lacking in any kind of intensity.

Early goals from Rodney Brown and James McLaughlin put the dominant visitors in control of proceedings ahead of Brad Lyons adding a third shortly after the interval.

Substitute Davy McDaid pulled one back for the Reds in injury-time but, as Lyttle admitted, the damage had long since been done.

“In terms of our performance, the only time you could say we did anything half-decent was when we were 3-0 down but the game was dead then,” he said.

“I have to applaud Coleraine for the way they played and anyone who was here would admit they deserved the points because they were excellent all over the pitch but obviously my concern is with Cliftonville and how we played – and nobody came out looking good.

“The three subs (McDaid, Stephen Garrett and Jay Donnelly) did well when they came on but it was far too late to get anything from the game.

“A few home truths were spoken about in the dressing room afterwards and some players were brought down a peg or two.

“I don’t know if we had the attitude that it was only Coleraine, so all we had to do was turn up. I don’t know where a mentality like that comes from but it’s not one I want from my team.

“You have no God given right to anything on a football pitch. It doesn’t matter what ability you have, if you’re not prepared to put the work in, you may as well forget about it.

“We let a lot of people down with that performance, it was as bad as I can remember. I thought we would have got a reaction to last week’s defeat to Crusaders but instead we got that. If certain players think they’re going to cruise through to the end of the season with that sort of performance, they’ll not be here much longer.”

Needless to say, opposite number Oran Kearney, whose men suffered the disappointment of throwing away a strong advantage against Linfield seven days earlier, was rather more enthused with his own side’s display – one that he rated among their best of the season.

“We wanted a reaction from last week and we got it here,” said he said

“It was the same kind of test with us going 2-0 up but we didn’t ease off or invite Cliftonville on to us. We kept at it and got our rewards.

“That’s the level of performance we will be looking to produce on a weekly basis as we prepare for the European play-offs at the end of the season.”