Belfast Telegraph

Cliftonville ready for show of strength: Catney

By Graham Luney

Ryan Catney has hailed Cliftonville's squad strength as the Solitude men set about retaining their league crown.

Tommy Breslin's side face a huge test on Saturday with league leaders Linfield the visitors.

And the Blues will arrive in north-Belfast with a spring in their step knowing a victory would open up an eight-points lead at the top. That means defeat is not an option for the hosts, but Cliftonville proved once again they thrive under pressure by retaining the League Cup on Saturday night.

A penalty shoot-out may have been required to break Crusaders' resistance, but all that matters is that the silverware remains in the Solitude trophy cabinet.

A year ago the League Cup triumph was the catalyst for the Reds' title success and Catney knows the squad is strong enough to be there or thereabouts at the finish yet again.

"When you have guys like Joe Gormley and Liam Boyce up front we are always going to pose a threat," said Catney.

"But it's not just about those two. We have Martin Donnelly and Marty Murray who has injected a bit of pace. Chris Curran has come back and we have Stephen Garrett and Ciaran Caldwell so without doubt it's the best squad that I have seen in my time here."

Catney, who scored in the 2013 League Cup final, didn't manage to get on the scoresheet on Saturday, but he still wore a winning smile at the finish.

"It was the first cup final at Solitude in such a long time and it was great to see the interest from the fans that lead to the temporary seating," he added.

The big question now is can the Reds keep the title race interesting? Catney added: "It took us some to time to adjust to the fact we were champions. Hopefully, this win gives us the confidence to stay in the title race."

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