IRISH LEAGUE: Sean O’Neill insists ‘there is more to come’ from champions Crusaders

Sean O'Neill celebrates with the Gibson Cup last season
Sean O'Neill celebrates with the Gibson Cup last season

Crusaders may have opened up an eight-point gap at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table, but goalkeeper Sean O’Neill has warned his team have yet to find top gear.

Stephen Baxter’s champions flexed their title muscles in last week’s thrilling 4-2 win over Glentoran – after being two goals down in 30 minutes.

And O’Neill insists there is a lot more to come.

“I think that victory showed the character we have in this team,” he said.

“Other teams may have panicked after finding themselves in the position we were in.

“But we rolled up our sleeves an dug out a result. It’s the mark of a good side.

“We are clear at the top, but I still think there is a lot more to come. We still haven’t found the form that won us the title last season.

“Although we pulled it back to 2-2 at the interval, the boss gave us a right rollicking.

“He told us we were lethargic and warned that there were boys on the bench just bench just bursting to get a bit of action. It had the desired affect.

“I though we were brilliant in the second half – it was more like Crusaders.”

O’Neill has recovered from a bout of bronchitis that almost ruled him out of last week’s game and is ready for another testing afternoon against Ronnie McFall’s erratic Portadown at Shamrock Park.

He added: “To be honest I wasn’t feeling the best last Saturday.

“I had a fitness test at 12-45, but I hadn’t trained all week and was really under the weather. I think my performance reflected that.”

Even though Ronnie McFall’s Ports are struggling in the bottom half of the table, O’Neill insists they are still formidable opponents.

“They have brought in Philip Lowry this week and he’ll be a good signing for them,” added O’Neill.

“They will be disappointed with their midweek defeat at Warrenpoint.

“We don’t fear any team in the league. In fact, on our day, we are head and shoulders above the rest.

“Their pitch could well be a bit of a leveller. Apparently it’s not in a great state. But we’ll not be making any excuses. We’ll be going there to get three points.”