Ronan Scannell striving to finish career on a high note
Ronan Scannell knows tonight's battle could be his last big cup final in Cliftonville colours and he wants to finish his legendary Solitude career with a flourish.
The popular left-back will turn 36 in May and he admits he will be "surprised" if he is still lining up for Tommy Breslin's side next season.
Scannell will make a final call on his playing future at the end of the campaign but he admits a reduced role in the first team is testing his resolve to keep going.
Ronan's brother Chris hung up his boots at the end of their title triumph last year and now the defender is questioning his own future in the game.
"I'll get to the end of the season and take it from there," said Ronan ahead of tonight's League Cup decider against Ballymena United at Windsor Park (5.30pm).
"I know I'm coming towards the end, it's just a question of when. There is some frustration when you are training and not playing but that's understandable as a player my age cannot expect to play every game.
"I'll be surprised if I give it another year and if it is the end in May I want to finish on a high. There's still a lot to play for, three trophies."
While there has been some disillusionment over Cliftonville's league form, Scannell says the pressure should be off the team now. The spotlight will fall on whether Crusaders, Linfield and Portadown can stay in the chase to take the Gibson Cup off the Reds.
"I think we are as far back as we can be in terms of retaining our title so our focus should be simply on winning matches rather than winning the championship for a third year in a row," he added.
"We should be enjoying this League Cup final, have a real go at the Irish Cup and keep the pressure on the league leaders. Years ago I could never have imagined Cliftonville would go on to win this much silverware and make history and it's a compliment to us that a few disappointing league results provokes such a strong reaction.
"I think we all need to show a little patience as new players have come in and some of our young boys have a lot more to give."