Cliftonville man of the match Barry Johnston says there is “no limit” to what this side can achieve after they grabbed the first trophy of the season last night.
A 2-1 scoreline doesn't begin to tell the story of the dominance the Reds showed in beating Glentoran on the east Belfast side's own patch to claim the Co Antrim Shield thanks to goals from Martin Donnelly and Joe Gormley.
Johnny Taylor pulled one back for the lacklustre Glens in injury time as they finally made an attempt to get something from the game, but the Reds hung on for a thoroughly deserved success.
Cliftonville are the Carling Premiership's form team — this was their 12th win in a row which is a club record— and are also in the semi-final of the Irn Bru League Cup.
“To win any trophy is brilliant but to do it at Cliftonville, the team I supported my whole life, is just unbelievable,” said Johnston who was a tower of strength in the middle of the park.
“The first 45 minutes was as
good as you will see from any team all year and we definitely have that potential to keep going for the entire 90 minutes.”
He added: “There's no limit to what that team can achieve. Ciaran Caldwell was sitting on the bench, John Convery was in the stands, George McMullan was in the stands — those three would walk into any team in the league.”
It was a special moment too for Martin Donnelly, who rifled home the opener from the penalty spot to help his boyhood club on their way to his first success in a red shirt since moving from Crusaders during the summer.
“I am a local lad and I always wanted to play for Cliftonville, so for me to score in a final is just a dream and hopefully it will be the first of many.”
In the other camp though the mood was dark as Glens boss Scott Young, angry at the powder-puff challenge his team put up, told the club's board that he needs money to buy players — and he knows it probably isn't available.
“It was a 2-1 mauling — it was embarrassing,” he said.
“Cliftonville players put bodies on the line and we don't have that. We are severely lacking in that.
“You can't give players a set of b****. I am hurt.
“I am really angry. Since I got the job all I have had is cut, cut, cut, cut and it's plain for everybody to see that there needs to be additions in January and I need to see if that is forthcoming.
“I know that the club, like every other club, is in a bad, bad financial state, but it is clear for everybody to see that there has to be an influx of players at the club.”
He added: “My hands have been tied behind my back for the past 18 months and you try to have players working hard but the saying goes ‘the cream always comes to the top' and we don't have enough cream.”