David Jeffrey has admitted his side didn’t deserve to win the league on Saturday — but he’s backing them to do the business tonight.
The Blues welcome Cliftonville to Windsor Park (7.45pm) knowing a point will secure a 49th league championship and wipe away a year of hurt for the domestic game’s most successful club.
Even if Cliftonville defeat Linfield, the Blues can clinch the title by winning at Portadown on Saturday but no-one at Windsor wants to keep nerves jangling to the finish.
“We maybe didn’t do enough to beat Crusaders on Saturday to win the league so our attitude again is simply to win a game of football and get three points,” said Jeffrey.
“Hopefully the point against the Crues has eased some tension and it’s good that Cliftonville are our opponents because they also have belief and will want to kick on.
“I don’t want to go into the last game thinking ‘Crikey, where are we at with this now?’”
Jeffrey is now relieved Noel Bailie has made his 1,000th appearance as the focus returns to the title mission.
“That is done and dusted now, out of the road and we don’t have to manage that any more,” added Jeffrey.
“Yes, we could have won the title on Saturday but I’m not overly disappointed because a draw was probably a fair result.
“In the second half we were better and I could point to Peter Thompson hitting the bar and Chris Keenan making a few great saves.”
The Blues will be desperate to win the league in front of a home audience but Cliftonville will be equally determined to take the title fight to the final round of fixtures.
Reds boss Eddie Patterson said: “There are three points to play for and at the very least we want to take them and therefore take the league down to the last game.
“There could be a twist that would allow us to win the league, but that will only become a possibility if we beat Linfield and we know that will be tough because they will want to get it wrapped up — especially in front of their own fans.”