Belfast Telegraph

Now Tommy Breslin seeks domestic bliss for Cliftonville

By Graham Luney

After every big party there's usually a hangover and after his Champions League bash Cliftonville are suffering from one that could linger for some time.

While the Reds have returned home with cherished memories of their Paradise experience, manager Tommy Breslin is now facing two significant problems which represent a bigger test of his managerial skills than the two European scraps with Celtic.

The first issue which must be addressed is to bring the players back down to earth for the domestic challenges that put them on this golden path to Europe last season.

But Breslin has also identified another area of concern. In his post-match press conference he revealed that some of his players were unhappy with the lack of game time they were afforded against the Scottish champions.

There is some disillusionment in the dressing room and the Solitude supremo has a little work to do to make the Reds a united force again.

A manager can't please all his players all the time and sentiment can never come into team selections. It was inevitable some of his players would feel a little out in the cold during these historic showdowns.

Martin Donnelly was a late substitute at Solitude and didn't feature at Parkhead, Ronan Scannell played at Solitude but was dropped for the rematch, former Celtic starlet Diarmuid O'Carroll was a substitute in both matches, Joe Gormley was a late substitute at Celtic Park while Joe McNeill and Ryan Brown kept the bench warm both times.

"The hype that has surrounded these games has been something else and there are a lot of players out there that didn't make the team and are disappointed," said Breslin.

"They need to be re-engaged and perhaps an arm put around them. There are players who were on the bench who maybe thought they should have played but didn't play.

"That's the way it is in part-time football and we have to bring them back into the fold and make them feel loved again."

Breslin is now glad the games are over and the hype is booted into touch.

With a twinkle in his eye he joked: "There's a lot to be said for finishing fourth in the league and having a long summer break and not being involved in any of this.

"I'm glad it's over and I'll enjoy it more when I look back."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph