Cliftonville bade farewell to Celtic Park with a 3-2 win over Bangor on Saturday afternoon and boss Eddie Patterson admitted he and his players were desperately looking forward to their return north.
The Reds will face Linfield at Solitude on October 27 and, though he expressed his gratitude to Donegal Celtic for the use of their facilities for the last couple of months, Patterson insisted there was no place like home.
“The people who have been affected most are our supporters,” he said. “It’s an inconvenience for them but they’ve continued to turn out in decent numbers and, when required, they’ve done what they can to create at atmosphere.
“I was delighted to see them at the Bangor game because they were kicked in the teeth against Crusaders last week. That was the perfect excuse for them to stay away, but they turned out to support us and kept getting behind us when we conceded and that’s very pleasing.”
They were certainly kept entertained. Chris Scannell opened the scoring on three minutes only for Dominic Melly to restore parity just before the half-hour. It was 2-1 within 30 seconds, though, as Scannell restored the lead.
A dubious penalty award allowed Marty Verner to find the net early in the second half but, within a minute, the Reds found a matchwinner in the unlikely shape of Ciaran Donaghy.
“We made it tough for ourselves,” added Patterson. “Bangor will probably look at it and say they had chances to claim a draw, but we should have been out of sight and I think we were worthy winners.”