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Glenavon v Cliftonville live updates: Jaimie McGovern sure high five will propel Reds to more success

By Graham Luney

Jaimie McGovern believes another League Cup success could fire Cliftonville to more glory days.

The Reds are hoping to win the famous trophy for a record fifth year in a row and it was the stunning 4-0 demolition of Cup holders Crusaders in the final at Windsor Park in 2013 that provided the momentum the club needed to taste title success.

Cliftonville made it back to back title triumphs and while their grip on the Gibson Cup was broken, their League Cup dominance has been extraordinary.

Ahead of tonight's quarter-final battle at Glenavon (7.45pm), McGovern references the 2013 success as an example of knockout joy providing a platform for progress in the league.

"There's always an appetite to do well in this competition because it has served us very well in the past in terms of giving us confidence and belief to go on and achieve more success," said the former Glentoran defender who arrived at Solitude in the summer of 2012.

"When we beat Crusaders 4-0 in the final of this competition it gave us the impetus and confidence to go on and win the league and you always hope something like that can happen again.

"Glenavon have a lot of firepower which we need to be wary of but after winning this trophy for the last four seasons you want to keep hold of it. It's all about momentum and confidence for us and I know this is only a quarter-final but when you win a competition like this one it can set the tone for your season.

"Our former manager Tommy Breslin always talked about taking one game at a time and he was right but we had huge self-belief and even when we went behind in matches we knew we could come back. We had enough in the tank to go on and win matches and you always want to have that ability and mentality.

"This is a team which is still gelling and in transition but there are boys like Ruairi Harkin, Daniel Hughes and Jason McGuinness who haven't won a winner's medal with the Reds and it would be nice for them to have those memories."

David McDaid's late winner against Ballinamallard United on Saturday sends Gerard Lyttle's men into the Cup clash in good spirits.

"We aren't a million miles away from the top two teams, Crusaders and Linfield, but we are still searching for more consistency and ruthlessness," added McGovern.

"Our sports scientist Ricky (McCann) says we have lost 16 points this season from winning positions and when you think about the games against Crusaders and Glentoran they really hurt you and this game is about playing for the 90 minutes.

"It was an ugly 1-0 win on Saturday but you'll always take the three points. The gaffer wasn't happy with the performance but we got the result we wanted and Davy (McDaid) just let his frustration out with his goal celebration, tackling the advertising boards with both feet.

"We had the feeling it was going to be one of those days despite having most of the possession but we were relieved to get the win," he said.

McGovern has also heard the talk of a possible return of the king with Joe Gormley disillusioned with life across the water and ready to come home next year.

"It's a shame for Joe that things haven't worked out for him but no doubt there are a lot of clubs here in the Irish League that would love to sign him," he added.

"I have been in the league for 10 years and I haven't seen a better partnership than when Liam Boyce and Joe were playing together.

"He has that striker's instinct as a natural goalscorer and it would be a huge bonus if he could come back to Cliftonville but supporters should never expect too much from him as he hasn't kicked a ball consistently for two years.

"It would take him time to get back to his best but he's going to be a very strong addition to any team that signs him."

Belfast Telegraph


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