On-song Ryan Curran welcomes added steel on top of Cliftonville skill
Cliftonville kick off a run of high-profile glamour ties this weekend at Windsor Park against defending champions Linfield - but Ryan Curran is looking back on a win at basement-based Warrenpoint as a key component of the league leaders’ sparking form.
Tests with three rival sides within the Premiership top-five spots each arrive on the road before December as Cliftonville visit Linfield, Coleraine and Larne inside 11 days.
And Curran feels the high-flying Reds can draw confidence for those showpiece tests from the resolve required to secure three points at Warrenpoint.
Having raced clear by 2-0 against Warrenpoint, the top-flight’s bottom team battled back to leave it level before Cliftonville managed to regroup and regain control in a 4-2 win.
Curran, who put Cliftonville in front at 2-0 and 3-2 to increase his impressive individual goal tally, cites the added steel in place of top of the skill as the greatest example of the squad’s growth.
“Away to Linfield is always a big occasion so one we will all look forward to this weekend...quickly followed by those league games at Coleraine and Larne,” said Curran. “There’s a long way to go and we must take it one game at a time.
“We can re-evaluate everything once out of this run and even the other side of Christmas but every game in this Premiership is tough.
“At times this season we’ve not played the football you would associate with Cliftonville but managed to come away with points and that’s something I consider a step forward for our squad.
“Against Warrenpoint it was so difficult but the mentality is so strong within the group and helping us pick up points in the past we maybe would have dropped.
“Having that ability is massive and you can draw confidence certainly from our run of form so far, although we realise it’s still just 13 games into the season with so much football still to come.
“It’s really about approaching each game with confidence thanks to the progress made but never arrogance, then using that to help you overcome the hurdles.”
Curran can point to his personal form as enjoying the benefits of confidence without arrogance - with the forward in line for his 150th appearance in Cliftonville colours this weekend fresh from renewed contract terms.
“I’m 28 years old now and I think I can approach my football now with much more maturity, which is helping me become more clinical in situations,” he said. “I’ve known Paddy McLaughlin a long time and even remember playing against him when at Derry City in friendly games with Institute.
“He’s a players’ manager, someone who brings so much passion to the job but also a plan in place and sense of composure.
“He and the coaching staff show such commitment and the past few transfer windows have really helped us to strengthen the squad and help to improve our levels of consistency from the whole group.
“I’m loving it at Cliftonville and it’s a team now that creates so many chances, which I can benefit from up front.
“So we just want to keep on working hard together and pushing forward.
“The contract was great to get it confirmed and over the line as my thinking coming into this season was always to hit the ground running and show I was worthy of a new deal at this club.
“I’ve been at Cliftonville now for about three years and just want to help the club drive on and get back to that level of the past.”
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