Paddy McLaughlin puts Cliftonville teamwork over individual showreel
A Joe Gormley tap-in provided Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin with greater satisfaction at Solitude than Conor McDermott’s celebrated moment of magic.
McDermott found the net from around 60 yards on Saturday and while McLaughlin relished the individual brilliance of the long-range strike, he singled out the team ethic behind Gormley’s effort for special praise.
“Our goals were excellent, with some contenders for ‘Goal of the Season’,” said McLaughlin. “Conor’s individual goal was brilliant, the flick over the opponent’s head then to see the goalkeeper’s position and take the shot on.
“But Joe’s for 3-0 was superb - I think only one outfield player didn’t get a touch in the build-up.
“That’s class, to show that confidence and ability to pop it around the pitch at this level.
“To go out two or three times and change the direction of the ball then score is superb.
“Everyone will tell you I’m sure they want the idea of that Total Football but it’s not always possible in such a strong and physical league.
“We are delighted with that goal as a team move.”
McLaughlin also highlighted the opening goal as Mark McKee marked his full Cliftonville debut with a spot on the scoresheet to cap a promising performance.
“You see players when identifying targets who are comfortable in possession, then you want to work on that more once at the club,” said McLaughlin. “If there’s a certain style of play you try to fit players into that style.
“Mark today was the perfect example of that. It was as good a full debut as I can remember in a long time.
“He is technically gifted, with a vision to see things three steps ahead and we’ve others in the team similar, so Mark was able to fit right in.
“He’s an ideal player for our style, so you identify players who are comfortable in our system but also demanding.
“Mark was here before at the club but has come home from Stevenage and been training with us, so we were delighted to get him signed up.
“You could see straight away that, even without being 100 per cent fit, he had that bit of class.
“We’ve worked on his fitness and Mark has been brilliant since being here, his performance was top-drawer even aside from the goal.
“Last week against Glenavon we were sluggish out of the blocks but very good in possession today early on.
“We don’t look at the league or consider ourselves as contenders.
“We know we are a good footballing side - we’ve scored some good goals and kept nine clean sheets in 15 games, which is a brilliant record.
“That points to being contenders but the likes of Linfield, Crusaders and Coleraine have been here before so we must stay in touch for as long as we can.
“At the turn of the year is when it becomes serious, if in touch then maybe we can become a contender.”