After a 2-1 defeat to rivals Glentoran at The Oval, Linfield manager David Healy felt their chances of retaining the Danske Bank Premiership had all but gone.
“I certainly didn’t see that defeat coming. I felt we were well on top of the game. Derby matches are won and lost on mistakes and goals -- we didn’t get them.
“We missed too many opportunities in the second half -- we simply failed to capitalise on them.
“Ross (Clarke) had probably the best of those chances near the finish. If he hits it low he would probably would have scored, but he skied it over the bar. That’s the difference in winning and losing
“It’s the first derby I’ve lost and it hurts, just like losing a cup final. I know what it means to me personally and also the club and the supporters.
“I am hugely disappointed. We have to bounce back. There’ll be no hiding place against the Crues.
“We need to regroup. We need to make sure we are better at Windsor Park on Saturday.
“Our title chances have gone. We have fluffed too many games. We have fluffed too many chances and conceded too many silly goals.
“For us to win the league, it would take an incredible collapse by the teams above us and, the be honest, there is not much chance of that happening.
“I can’t see that happening. They are in too good of form.”