Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Reds expect hot reception on return to 'scene of crime'

Ronan Scannell has warned his Cliftonville team-mates they should brace themselves for a Linfield revenge mission tonight.

The last time the Reds tackled Linfield at Windsor Park they humiliated David Jeffrey's men 3-0 on the opening day of the 2006-2007 league season.

This evening Cliftonville return to the scene of the crime they committed with consummate ease.

At stake is a mouthwatering semi-final tie with Glentoran the Crest Teamwear County Antrim Shield and Eddie Patterson's men, who lifted this piece of heavy silverware last season, aren't prepared to let go of it without a struggle.

A struggle is exactly what awaits them at Windsor as Linfield will be anxious to flex their muscles ahead of the league showdown between the sides on Monday.

But Cliftonville make the trip across Belfast quietly confident they can stun Jeffrey's men once again.

"This is the first really big test for us this season," said left-back Ronan Scannell.

"Eddie (Patterson) had them watched on Saturday and we'll have a good knowledge of what they are capable of. But we know what to expect from them. That 3-0 defeat at Windsor probably still hurts them and they will feel they need to exorcise that ghost.

"They will want revenge to some degree and it will take another special performance from us to topple them again.

"We embarrassed Linfield that day and they would love to turn the tables on us. Knowing David Jeffrey and his players they would love to get revenge but our side hasn't changed a great deal since then - Kieran O'Connor has come in while Conor Downey moved to Linfield but we haven't missed Conor as much as many people thought we would."

Scannell has cherished memories of last season's Shield glory when Mark Holland's brace sunk Lisburn Distillery in the decider.

"The reception we received back at the social club that night was something else," he added. "You could say the punters were happy! It was the first piece of silverware we had won in a while and we want to keep it."

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