Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

McShane vows Donegal Celtic will not lose focus

Pat McShane's experience is vital in DC's relegation battle

Pat McShane is adamant that Donegal Celtic's fight to beat the drop won't be derailed by the Sean Cleary suspension scandal.

The Suffolk Road club was rocked when an Irish FA committee stripped them of the three points won in their last league outing against Lisburn Distillery when Cleary was deemed to have played in that game – scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory – when he should have been serving a suspension.

DC manager Pat McAllister blasted the IFA after the decision to award the Whites a 3-0 win – which in turn closed the gap at the bottom of the Premiership table to just three points – challenging the association to admit his club's claims that they were told verbally Cleary was eligible to play.

McShane, however, isn't going to let matters off the pitch take away from what he and his team-mates need to do on it.

"We've been very focused on doing our job on the pitch for the last five or six weeks and we won't let anything change that," said McShane.

"We beat Ballinamallard, drew with Coleraine and Ballymena before we beat Distillery, so we've been in good form and we have to keep that focus.

"It's frustrating and annoying for the players that we've lost three points that we worked so hard to get, but it ended up out of the players' hands.

"All we can do now is go out onto the pitch and keep doing what we have been doing and take more points off the teams around us so that we can stay up."

DC travel to Dungannon Swifts today in search of three points that would ensure that they stay above Distillery in the battle to stay in the top flight.

And as the heat at the foot of the table intensifies McShane is calling on the experience he gained during years of fighting for success at the other end to help stave off the sceptre of relegation.

"At Linfield there was pressure every week, we were expected to win and if you wanted to win the league – which is what you're judged on at Linfield – you had to win all the time," said McShane.

"The pressure when you're at the bottom isn't too dissimilar. We need to be at our best every week if we want to get enough points to stay up, but I had that for years at Windsor Park and it's water off a duck's back to me now.

"The next few weeks are massive for us, but we know what we have to do, we are focused on what we have to do and if we can get a few results and maybe pull the teams above down then there will be a real fight at the bottom."

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