Cliftonville made it two wins in a row on Saturday to propel themselves to within touching distance of the top half of the table.
Two first-half strikes from Chris Scannell and a real screamer from Mark Holland in the second period helped the Reds to a deserved success over out-of-form Coleraine and boss Eddie Patterson was delighted to see his players’ efforts rewarded.
“There was a lot of criticism thrown our way earlier in the season when we weren’t winning games,” he said.
“Although we didn’t play brilliantly in every match, I felt it was bad luck rather than bad performances which were going against us.
“The boys were putting the effort in and doing what they could, but it just wasn’t happening for them. A lot of questions were asked but they’ve responded in the best way possible and that’s by continuing to play their football and working hard for 90 minutes.
“We’ve been doing very well over the last month or two and, although we drew a lot of games, we’ve added wins against Dungannon, Glenavon and now Coleraine, so we’re picking up points on a more regular basis and making up good ground on the teams above us.
“The only way to do that is to perform like we have done recently and hopefully the rewards will continue to come.”
The Solitude boss also had words of praise for his goalscorers as Scannell made it seven in five outings, while Holland netted for the first time since March.
“I made Chris the captain because he is Cliftonville through and through and you know what you’re going to get from him — a high workrate, plenty of passion, determination, energy and a real will to win. What better example could he set to everyone else?
“He’s been in good form all season for us and the more he scores, the more confident he becomes and the rest of the boys feed off that,” said Patterson.