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Biting Back: Crusaders ready to crack open the champagne

By Graham Luney

The champagne is on ice at the home of Crusaders Football Club, but it could be cracked open as early as tonight.

If the Crues win at Portadown and Linfield lose against Glentoran at the Oval, Stephen Baxter's side will be champions.

The north-Belfast side are nine points ahead of second placed Linfield and there are only five league matches left, while the Shore Road side's goal difference is 26 ahead of the Blues.

It's hard to comprehend Crusaders throwing it away now. I'd be tempted to say there is more chance of Windsor Park's Kop Stand staying upright than Baxter's boys collapsing at the death.

No-one can touch then on the goalscoring front. Eighty-five goals from 33 matches is a phenomenal statistic yet the Crues are still accused of playing hoof-ball and simply lumping it forward.

A lot of this criticism is sparked by envy and jealousy.

Do you really think Crusaders fans are not going to celebrate a league title because some of their players might like a good forward pass?

Given the state of some of our pitches a direct approach could be considered the best option, but Baxter's men have been a class apart.

Mental toughness, physical strength, renewed belief and, yes, breathtaking attacking football, has left them on the brink of becoming champions.

Belfast Telegraph

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