Belfast Telegraph

Linfield's Tipton is calling for cool heads at Windsor

By Graham Luney

Matthew Tipton insists it's time for cool heads at Windsor Park as Linfield fight to wrestle the Gibson Cup back off Cliftonville.

David Jeffrey's side were knocked out of the Irish Cup by Ballymena United last weekend and many observers believe the manager's 17-year reign will come to an end if he cannot mastermind title success.

Jeffrey is the man Linfield need in the hotseat at the moment – with nine league wins already on his managerial CV the Blues should know what it takes to get across the line first.

But they are up against a ruthless Cliftonville side who have rediscovered the hunger and desire to retain the prize they won in emphatic fashion last season.

With the Blues one point behind and with a game in hand on the Reds, the title race looks like going to the wire.

Jeffrey's men are now hoping Crusaders can take points off Tommy Breslin's side tomorrow but Ballinamallard United will arrive at Windsor searching for their first league win since a 1-0 victory over Ards on December 7.

Tipton, who was denied a late equaliser against the Sky Blues when goalkeeper Aaron Shanahan tipped over his powerful strike, knows his side need to remain focused on their key objective.

"Cliftonville have done very well but we have 11 games left and my philosophy is always to stay focused on the next challenge and keep a cool head," said the Welsh hitman.

"Cool heads come through in these circumstances. Our primary objective this season has been to win the league and we have given ourselves a chance of doing that.

"The horrible cliche of taking one game at a time is very true. Anything can happen in a cup tie and despite creating some chances against Ballymena United they put the ball in the back of the net twice. They were more clinical than us. But a league championship is a much truer reflection of your progression as a team and it's the most coveted trophy that teams want to win."

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