Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Cliftonville now setting their sights on Crusaders

Cliftonville’s George McMullan admits to being disappointed that tonight’s tie against Donegal Celtic has hit the ice — but is delighted to finally turn his attentions elsewhere.

The Reds have always maintained a one game at a time policy and, now that the DC tie has been postponed for the third time in five days, next on the agenda is Monday’s derby date with Crusaders.

“That’s the big one,” says the 29-year-old midfield ace.

“It’s been a bit of an awkward week not knowing who we were playing or even where it was going to be played so it’s good that we know where we stand at the minute at least.

“We’d been due to play Donegal Celtic on Saturday and then Tuesday but, when that was postponed, they were looking to get it arranged for tonight and there was talk of switching it to Solitude if Celtic Park wasn’t ready. It would have been nice to have got a game but what can you do? This cold weather’s been unreal.”

And he should know. A plumber by trade, McMullan has been kept busy in the run-up to Christmas but admits that, despite the endless pleas for help from desperate households nursing burst pipes and plenty besides, nothing will be able to distract him from the Reds’ next game.

“The matches with Crusaders are brilliant because both sets of fans really get into it and it’s not just the 90 minutes, it takes over your whole Christmas,” he adds.

“At least now we know that it’s our next game and there aren’t any question marks over another match being squeezed in beforehand so the boys can start getting themselves prepared because it really is a massive fixture.

“I suppose the problem now would be getting somewhere to train beforehand. We weren’t able to have a session at Solitude on Tuesday because of the snow and, if the DC game wasn’t switched, then that might mean it still isn’t ready for us to train on it tonight, but we’ll wait and see.

“Knowing the manager, he’ll have something lined up — there’s no danger of us having a night off anyway! We might end up indoors somewhere or maybe at the gym but, wherever it is, I’m looking forward to it because it means we can all sit down as a group and start preparing for Monday.”

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