Dungannon Swifts boss Darren Murphy blasted his players’ attitude following Saturday’s dismal defeat to Cliftonville, then insisted the Reds were well equipped to go on and win the title.
The Solitude side brushed their opponents aside to return to the top of the Premiership table with a 4-1 win which helped exorcise the demons of last week’s horrific derby defeat to Crusaders.
After opening the scoring from Ciaran Caldwell’s 10th minute pass, Joe Gormley turned provider for Liam Boyce to double the advantage just before half-time.
Boyce (pictured) curled home his second of the afternoon before Martin Donnelly started and finished the move which saw Ronan Scannell, James Knowles, George McMullan and Gormley each make telling contributions in the build-up to the fourth.
Former Reds frontman Stephen O’Neill claimed a consolation eight minutes from time, but that was never going to be enough to curtail Murphy’s anger.
“We didn’t compete at all,” he said.
“These are the sort of games you’re supposed to relish, coming up against the top sides and showing what you’re made of, but we didn’t look interested.
“We have plenty of footballers on our team. We like to get the ball down, knock it around and play and the surface at Solitude is perfect for that, but we had nothing about us all day — no fight, no desire, no quality and I find myself asking why that would be.
“I have absolutely no complaints or qualms about the 4-1 scoreline because Cliftonville won well and deservedly so.
“They’re a fantastic side with great players, who could possibly go on to win the league. It’s difficult enough coming up against a team like that without making it as easy for them as we did.”
And Murphy — no stranger to picking up the odd medal here and there throughout his own playing career — believes Cliftonville could maintain their place at the summit if they have the mental appetite to do so.
“The hardest position to win a league from is the top,” he explained. “You’re out in front and everyone wants to have a go at you and knock you down.
“Every week, you face all kinds of pressure to get a result and stay up there ahead of everyone else.
“I know Cliftonville have fallen down from that sort of position before but, from speaking to Tommy Breslin, they might have a bit more about them now and, in terms of their ability, I don’t think there’s any doubt that they’re good enough.”