Tommy Breslin says Cliftonville’s push for European football will hinge on their home form – but Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton has ruled his own charges out of the running.
The Lurgan Blues moved to within three points of the outgoing Champions with victory at Solitude on Saturday but, despite the outcome of next weekend’s Irish Cup semi-finals opening the possibility of continental rewards for fourth place, the Mourneview gaffer insists his side are not in the mix.
“That’s not something we’re looking at,” says Hamilton.
“It’s never even crossed our minds, to be honest. Our aim was to make sure we qualified for the top six and we’ve done that, now we’ll be looking to consolidate fifth and that whatever happens after that happens.
“We’re level on points with Glentoran but, with all the teams at the top having to play eachother again, it’s going to be very tough to climb the League and we’ll just have to wait and see if we have the squad to make a push and pick up enough points for the remainder of the season.”
Kevin Braniff found the bottom corner with a penalty to put Glenavon in front but Joe Gormley’s attempt to level via the same method was thwarted by visiting goalkeeper James McGrath.
Eoin Bradley and Braniff both struck quickfire efforts to put the Lurgan Blues into a commanding lead but Cliftonville hit back through a delightful Martin Donnelly chip and a hooked effort from Knowles as part of a rousing finish which Breslin described as “too little, too late”.
He added: “At 3-0 down, we suddenly found our urgency and the spark to start playing – but where was that attitude at nil-each?
“I wasn’t happy with the performance at all and I’ve told the players that. Our game is all about quick passing, movement and taking teams on but we didn’t do that.”