Paddy McLaughlin relishing Cliftonville trophy charge before Glentoran challenge

Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin is full of praise for the ‘serious quality’ on board at title rivals Glentoran ahead of tonight’s clash between the sides sitting second and third in the Premiership standings.

By Patrick Van Dort
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 1:00 pm

Victory for the Reds at the BetMcLean Oval would turn the tables on the current one-point deficit and put Cliftonville in control of a three-team race for top spot which has Linfield as leaders on goal difference.

“The Glens have been excellent this season,” said McLaughlin. “Mick (McDermott) has done a brilliant job.

“He’s made some serious quality additions to his squad as well.

Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

“They’re going to be a team that’s going to be up there challenging for a number of years now.

“We’ve done well against them this season...it’s ‘even-stevens’ at the minute with one win each.

“The game that we lost we were probably a bit disappointed about it as we took the lead in it.

“It will be tough going there...they’re really strong at home, but the form these boys are in at the minute they’re looking forward to it.

“We’re in the business to compete at the top end and get to finals and, hopefully, win them.

“I can’t praise the players enough for their efforts throughout the season - and hopefully they get rewarded.

“I do believe they deserve it more than anybody else.

“We’ve given ourselves a chance in the cups and we’re clinging on by our fingertips in the league if anyone slips up.

“But that’s fairytale stuff, there’s so many games to be played and you have to be realistic as I can’t see Glentoran and Linfield losing too many...but if they do it’s up to us to capitalise on it.

“Up until this point the boys have been superb in all competitions and gone toe-to-toe with everyone.

“If the result against Coleraine (Irish Cup win) gives us another boost in any way on top of what we already have it is going to be brilliant for us.

“It’s a big result in terms of the fact Coleraine really came at us in the second half and threw everything at us.

“That’s why it’s a really big result for me more than anything because in the past we have conceded a lot of late goals.

“That’s a different team and character in there now and that determination not to concede late on when everything was getting fired at us was a big thing for me.

“It’s an exciting time.”

FIXTURES: Ballymena United v Linfield, Carrick Rangers v Portadown, Crusaders v Coleraine, Glentoran v Cliftonville, Larne v Glenavon, Warrenpoint Town v Dungannon Swifts