December certainly proved a rewarding month for Oran Kearney but the Coleraine boss insists he’s only concerned with what lies ahead.
Picking up his first Carling Manager of the Month award since his appointment last February, Kearney outlined his desire to drive the Ballycastle Road side onto bigger and better things.
“I suppose our aim this season would have been a top six place in the league and a trophy in the bag,” he explained.
“We finished seventh last year and all the talk was about taking it a step further and finally trying to break into the top half.
“We’re sitting fourth at the minute and, pleased as we are with that, we know there’s plenty of work to do for us to stay there but that’s not to say it’s the height of our ambitions.”
Kearney guided the Bannsiders through an unbeaten December which, in addition to a festive derby defeat of Ballymena United, included the halting of Cliftonville’s 14-match winning streak and subsequent progress to the Irn Bru League Cup final.
“It’s nice for me to pick up the award and I hope it’s the first of many but I think a fairer way to look at it would be a team of the month honour.
“I only stand on the sidelines and tell people what to do, it’s the players who have to put the graft in and work their socks off for 90 minutes.
“We’re also heading in the right direction off the park and without the hard work of the chairman and board as well as my backroom team, this award wouldn’t have been possible.
“We have done well throughout December, but now the onus is on us to keep that up through January.
“We have two very important league games, an Irish Cup tie and, of course, the League Cup final coming up at the end of the month and I hope we can keep our current run of form going for as long as possible.
“What’s gone before is over with and my focus is always on the here and now, which is an attitude I like my teams to share.”
Meanwhile, Cliftonville winger Martin Donnelly — who saw namesake Rory and Carling’s Goal of the Month awards in October and November — made it a treble for the Reds with his chipped effort in the December 10 defeat of Lisburn Distillery, named as December’s top strike.