Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Patterson delighted at Holland's Cliftonville comeback

Eddie Patterson

Players picking up silly yellow cards are the bane of a manager's life - but Eddie Patterson was prepared to forgive Mark Holland for doing exactly that this week.

Holland put a year of injury torment behind him when he powered home Cliftonville's 89th minute winner against Crusaders on Monday and promptly whipped off his shirt in delight before launching himself bare-chested into the mountain of snow surrounding the Solitude pitch.

Referee Mark Courtney issued the regulation booking but Patterson, while not a fan of the ruling, had no qualms over his goalscorer's choice of celebration.

“When you think about what Mark has been through over the last year or so then you'd agree he has every right to enjoy the moment,” said the happy Reds boss.

“It never seems to be a niggling injury with Mark, it's always something serious but he keeps battling back and is a real credit.

“He had been edging back towards fitness at the end of last season and then, just when he was hopeful of getting back into things on a regular basis, suddenly it was May and the summer break arrived.

“He got his chance to play in Europe and was fantastic for us before being very badly injured out in Croatia.

“He was stretchered off that night and we thought he would probably be looking at maybe six months on the sidelines.

“He's come back much sooner than expected though and, when Ciaran Donaghy failed a fitness test ahead of the Linfield game a fortnight ago, we had to ask Mark to go in and play 90 minutes at centre-half.

“He was exceptional that night and maintained that level of performance against Crusaders on Monday.”

The 32-year-old former Lisburn Distillery ace actually got the final touch on Chris Morrow's 88th minute strike which looked to have rescued a point for Crusaders just minutes after Eamonn Seydak had opened the scoring.

It was fitting, however, that the man they call Hatchet at Solitude would pop up with the strike which sunk the Hatchetmen and in doing so maintained an interesting statistic which has seen either Mark or his brother Barry on target in three of Cliftonville's last four Yuletide clashes with the Crues.

“I'm delighted for him, we all are,” added Patterson.

“What Mark needs now is to go on a long run of games without any injury problems cropping up but, for the minute, I think he will be happy to sign off from 2010 with a last-minute winner in the north Belfast derby.”

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