Crusaders 1 Cliftonville 3: Cliftonville skipper Chris Scannell says co-striker colleague Liam Boyce is totally unaffected by the collapse of his proposed transfer to SpVgg Greuther Furth.
Speaking after his team’s commanding second-half romp which saw them score three times inside 15 glorious minutes, Scannell commented: “If he’s disappointed it wasn’t apparent to me. He gave another outstanding display, put away the ball for our opening goal with his usual assurance and all-in-all looked his usual self.”
The 19 year-old was making his second consecutive Friday night appearance at Seaview when everybody expected the previous game — against Dungannon Swifts last week — to be “auf wiedersehen” ahead of a switch to German football.
“It’s a bit of a double-edged sword,” added Scannell.
“We’re of course delighted to have Liam here — you don’t want to lose somebody of his calibre, but you don’t want to hold him back either.
“Liam’s not going to let these off-the-field problems affect him, he just wants to play football — that could be a park pitch on a wet Friday night, at the Whiterock Leisure Centre, wherever. As long as he’s got a ball at his feet he’s happy, it’s what he wants to do.”
For manager Eddie Patterson, the only minus on the night was their failure to keep a clean sheet after Crues’ substitute Ross Arthurs snatched a late opportunist consolation when he lobbed the ball over the advancing Reds’ keeper John Connolly.
“Yes I’m disappointed with that but the 3-1 result sort of flatters us a bit. It could have been a different ball game, but beggars can’t be choosers and we’ll not be losing any sleep over the outcome.”
Opposite number Stephen Baxter said it was hard to believe that they came away with nothing “having played so well for an hour.”
“We should have been four up, but their keeper made such stunning saves in the second half — just incredible.”
“But I’m not disappointed with the way this team have played tonight, I thought they too were incredible, and if they give me that every week I’ll not be complaining.”
Scannell set Boyce up for the opener on 56 minutes and then grabbed the second for himself before Chris Morrow’s foul on Kieran O’Connor allowed George McMullan to make it 3-0 from the penalty spot ahead of Arthurs’ late response.