Warrenpoint defender Dermot McVeigh predicts bright future after draw with Cliftonville
Warrenpoint Town defender Dermot McVeigh is feeling confident about his side's season so far after the Co Down men picked up a draw at home to champions Cliftonville on Saturday.
Having lost all five of their opening Premiership fixtures, Town made it four points in a week following their win away to Dungannon Swifts on Tuesday night, but were unfortunate not to make it back-to-back victories against McVeigh's former employers at the weekend.
Leading 1-0 deep into stoppage time courtesy of Stephen Hughes' 88th minute strike, they were denied a win when Joe Gormley headed home the rebound from his own penalty with literally the last action of the game after McVeigh was adjudged to have fouled Tiarnan Mulvenna in the box.
"When you get to that stage of the game, you think you've got the three points all wrapped up," said the 24-year-old.
"I gave away the penalty and I thought it was harsh. A few people have watched it back on television and they think it was harsh. It's one of those things but it's not too often you come away from playing Cliftonville and are disappointed with a point.
"We'll take it and move forward. It's another point on the board and over the next few weeks, we've Linfield, Crusaders and Portadown and they are all tough matches so if we could get a point in each of those matches and beat the teams in and around us, then we'll be happy enough."
It has always been the belief of those at the 'Point that they weren't getting the results their performances warranted in the early part of the campaign and McVeigh is feeling positive about the future.
"Tuesday night was a dogfight to a certain degree and we were hungry. Today was about containing Cliftonville and hitting them on the counter with Ciaran O'Connor and Rambo (Stephen Hughes). We hit them on the counter attack and got the penalty and then did it again with the goal and from there on in, it got a bit mad and was about defending but that's what you expect when you're playing the champions."
Hughes had earlier seen a penalty saved by Conor Devlin after Johnny Flynn was adjudged to have felled O'Connor in a frantic finish which saw two spot-kick misses and a goal apiece.
Town manager Barry Gray has been taking a leaf out of Louis van Gaal's book and changed formation to 3-5-2 which, says McVeigh, is a call that's starting to bear fruit as results begin to improve.
"Myself, Stephen Moan and John Boyle have been playing there in the last few games, apart from the Institute match where Jonny Cowan came in, and I think we're building up a bit of a partnership.
"It's a bit of a different system, but I think we're getting used to it now and we're feeling pretty comfortable, so hopefully that continues for us."
McVeigh also heaped praise on 18-year-old striker O'Connor who has scored, provided an assist and won two penalties in his first two games on loan from Dundalk.
"As a defender, he's the type of player you hate marking," explained McVeigh.
"He's strong, he's quick off the mark and he's always on the move. He brings something different to the team and he set up the goal today and made the penalty and scored the second goal against Dungannon on Tuesday so he's proving effective," said McVeigh.
Saturday's match saw the beginning of a run of four big games against some of the league's big guns with a trip to the newly-refurbished Windsor Park to take on Linfield next up before Warrenpoint host Crusaders and then travel to Portadown and McVeigh is relishing the prospect of those high-profile fixtures.
"That's the reason teams want to get into this league," he added.
"They are the top teams you want to be playing against regularly. We've got them four weeks in a row and if you can get a point against Cliftonville, you can get a point against anybody."